Qiu Zhijie: A Suicidology of the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge
2008, 153 pp.
Qiu Zhijie’s practice encompasses conceptual multimedia works fusing Chinese calligraphy with video, installation and performance art. Building layers of meaning and memory through print and papermaking, Qiu explored critical issues of freedom and destiny by focusing on the geopolitical and psychological attachments to the ancient capital Nanjing City or “City of Failure” for its past of massacres and wars. Informed by historical, social and academic issues of significant cultural import, Qiu’s creative expositions took these works into the realm of social action, and are a prelude to future installations on the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge Suicide Intervention Project.
In the exhibition The Bridge • Nanjing • Under the Heaven, Qiu explores the nationhood, and geopolitical and psychological attachments to Nanjing City. He combines imagery of the Nanjing Bridge with ancient Chinese aesthetics, Daoist philosophy and Cultural Revolution symbols to create a conceptual map that questions the ideas that had built a cyclic China. Qiu recounts Daoist classics in Ataractic of Zhuang Zi 1, injecting a dose of ancient philosophy to ‘tranquilise’ the strains of historical burdens and anxieties of contemporary life.
At STPI, Master Papermaker Richard Hungerford and his crew witnessed Qiu churning out works in two and three dimensional form, effortlessly. He says, “Qiu works as if he is on a mission. What that mission is would only come from his soul and the translations of ancient proverbs. I found it a privilege to enable his visions to come from STPI paper.”
Includes essays by Chang Tsong-zung and Zhu Zhu in Chinese, with English translation.