Lu Hao: Shooting 10000 Arrows All At Once

Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing

April 20, 2007




Installation – Mixed Media

Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing-Lucerne

April 13 – May 19, 2007, Beijing

Tue to Sun, 11 AM – 6.30 PM

The Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing-Lucerne, is pleased to announce an exhibition of new work by Beijing artist Lu Hao (born 1969). In Shooting 10000 Arrows All at Once (2007), Lu Hao takes us into a space between times visualizing the scenario of violent appropriation of territory, devastation of cultural assets and the ideologically conditioned development of new environments as a timeless phenomenon of human existence. To create the work, the artist has reconstructed a launching platform mounted with a crossbow, a bulky contraption of the type used from the early empires well into the Ming and Manchu dynasties. Emphasizing the virtual dimension of this imitation battle weapon, only the chassis is made of wood, while the crossbow device is made of transparent Plexiglas. It is located near the entrance of the exhibition room, and there are hundreds of wooden arrows stuck in the diagonally opposite walls. This suggests an attack that is already over. The metal arrowheads have sunk themselves into models of traditional Beijing courtyard houses.

What is left of the time-honored, daily life of Beijing when the old urban infrastructure is quickly being obliterated and replaced by ‘international style’ high-rise skylines? How long can the images in our memory resist factual destruction? The installation 2006 New Visual Acuity Chart for General Use (2007), also included in this exhibition, the visitor enters a room which displays a dozen fluorescent light boxes in various sizes and colors, featuring the ‘tumbling E’ which is common in optometrists’ offices all over the world. The optotypes in Lu Hao’s pieces, however, are made up of scaled-down banknotes of international currencies. Lu Hao modifies the fundamental principle of an eye test to turn it into a statement on the ‘money vision’ that is rampant worldwide. By creating the optotypes’ rectangular shapes out of sized-down bank notes of various currencies, fitted next to each other in mosaic fashion, he visualizes the global connection of money: the universal cash cycle that the economy ensures by controlling the mutual convertibility of the world’s currencies. The optotype symbol in 2006 New Visual Acuity Chart for General Use becomes a mere shape that is defined by changing amounts of money. By the multiplication of eye charts, their relational and optical differences (various sizes and colors), the visual acuity test proper-an act on behalf of the human body-mutates into a seemingly entertaining show, a garishly gaudy surface phenomenon that serves to cover up what is in fact a reductionist form of domination over ‘humanity-as-a-commodity’.

What in Lu Hao’s work appears as an artistically defamiliarized object of utility could hardly be a more dismal proposition when considered as a prognosis for society as a whole. Thus his diagnostic finding for mankind-regardless of nationality, age or education level-is a cultural deformation that in fact condemns to a new form of blindness. It is a visual test explicitly for “general use” and therefore not only meant for a specific target group. So the sense of sight to be examined is no longer the pathway to the human soul, which it has traditionally been associated with both in China and in the West. The function of the eyes here is neither to pick up information nor to contemplate nor to establish human contact: vision, in the understanding of the 2006 New Visual Acuity Chart for General Use, serves nothing but the purpose of checking out reality and also other people for their practical financial value.

Lu Hao’s works have been shown in numerous international exhibitions and biennials ever since the late 1990s. His new piece, Shooting 10,000 Arrows All at Once, not only puts into focus the currently endangered relics of the traditional Chinese lifestyle, it also opens our eyes to rather elusive historical dimensions – quite beyond China, in fact.

Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing-Lucerne

104, Caochangdi Cun, Cui Gezhuang Xiang, Chaoyang District,

100015 Beijing/China

Tel: + 86 (0) 10 643 333 93

Fax: + 86 (0) 10 643 302 03

E-Mail: [email protected]