• A Matter of Balance

    Date posted: October 29, 2008 Author: jolanta
    The difficult game of balance always implies an interaction between two opposing elements. There is balance when two subjects accept and permeate each other, when they have the same weight. The German word “gleichgewicht” is exemplar. It includes two words: “gleich” means “same” and “gewicht” means “weight.” In the case of balance, stability is assured and a condition of neutrality, whose point zero is supposed to endure endlessly, is reached. But with the interference of a foreign element, a lack of balance occurs and a conflict is established. Image

    Selina Lai

    Image
    Qin Chong, Untitled, 2005. Paper and fire, variable dimensions. Courtesy of GDK Galerie der Künste.

    The difficult game of balance always implies an interaction between two opposing elements. There is balance when two subjects accept and permeate each other, when they have the same weight. The German word “gleichgewicht” is exemplar. It includes two words: “gleich” means “same” and “gewicht” means “weight.” In the case of balance, stability is assured and a condition of neutrality, whose point zero is supposed to endure endlessly, is reached. But with the interference of a foreign element, a lack of balance occurs and a conflict is established.

    Qin Chong works out this precariousness by raising tension and creating border situations. He stresses each time the thin line between two antagonistic elements. He shows the fragility, the apparent anonymity of phenomena. It could be apnea in the water as we can see in his video Landscape Ornament of 2005. It could be a silk thread that twines around a plant preventing it from growing up, or black ink that saturates paper or fire that burns it, as in many of his paintings and in the series of sculptures Birthday I-II-III from 2003. Black White Grey, Qin’s first solo exhibition in June 2005 at the GdK Galerie der Kuenste, Berlin, showed three border areas whose boundaries touched, overwhelmed each other. It dealt with purity that was inexorably tainted, a whiteness that, by coming in contact with its antagonistic black, becomes grey.

    Although Qin’s reduction into primary geometrical forms such as the cube, the cylinder, and the abolition of color, may be traced back to the tradition of minimalism in the 60s, the Chinese artist distinguishes himself with the kind of artistic operation he carries out, an act that is not aseptic but silently invasive and aggressive. His minimalism includes existential elements as it shows the fight between two antagonists: the taskmaster for paper has to be either fire or ink; the natural element preventing a plant from growing can be only a silk thread, which is so strong that it seems as though it will never break.

    What associates each one of these existential conditions in Qin’s work is expanded time. His work doesn’t deal with the dispersing of sudden or accelerated moments, but shows the slowness, the calmness, the patience, and the silence of a process that is going to be accomplished or that inevitably occurs. In disarming refinement and bareness, these existential conditions loose themselves into the clear evidence of an instant.

     

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