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 December 2008 Issue of HI Art

Just like how Dickens started his novel A Tale of Two Cities, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity….” All in all, this is the age in which everything is changing and everyone loses his direction and feels uncertain.

To tell the truth, only such people, just like you and me, will give lament above: who have accounted for the majority of the society, have nothing to do with good things and good policies, but who will surely suffer from bad things. We call these people unfortunate persons, worthless wretches, or unobtrusive people. Those who can push the age ahead and control the social instability has no time to lament, because it is them who have changed the age into one as it is today.

The biggest event happened this year may be the global economic crisis. We can say this is the most serious economic crisis in one century. It should have been America’s own business, but the crisis developed into a global one when the whole world was going to benefit from it. There are a lot of countries in the world. In the past they confronted with each other, while now they frequently meet together. At first the European meeting was held, then the Eurasia conference and Russian-European conference, and now all countries are having a meeting with America. The American Financial Tsunami resulted from the Subprime Mortgage Crisis of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which then affected the whole American finances. However, the mortgage policy was originally implemented for benefiting Americans. Now real estate industry is thriving and prosperous in China, but who can live in the new house bought with zero down payments, like Americans? Moreover, in America, the pay-back period, which can be extended to as long as 40 years, is warranted by the government, and the fixed lending rate is as low as can be.

Generally speaking, from the formation of human society up to now, there are the following social forms: Capitalist Society, Socialist Society, Semi-capitalist and Semi-socialist Society, Semi-socialist and Semi-capitalist Society, Semi-capitalist and Semi-feudal Society, Semi-feudal and Semi-capitalist Society, Semi-socialist and Semi-feudal Society, as well as Semi-feudal and Semi-socialist Society. All of them are advancing and going to stagger into a new year, but they are different in nature, just like cars of different brands and with different fuels. Superior brands, such as BMW and Benz, differ from inferior ones, such as Alto and QQ, in not only that the former are more prestige, but also the fuel they required. If high-emission vehicles such as BMW and Benz also use poor oil and give out black smoke, then some young people may think that this is the latest foreign emission standard with admiration: this is rather ridiculous and unreasonable.

In my last article for this column I also mentioned three events: Sichuan Earthquake, Olympic Games held in Beijing and Richter’s exhibition, all of which were man-made except for the earthquake. Relieving the victims of the disaster may be the top priority for the following 30 or more years. It deserves attention that whether the government can restore and even increase people’s living standard which has been harmed by the natural disaster and this is also a painstaking task. Last year China’s GDP came 4th in the world, while Per Capita GDP only ranked 104th. In terms of per-capita actual income, the ranking will be even much lower. As to the Olympic Games, I do not want to mention it here at all. Richter’s exhibition is related with the status of contemporary culture and art in a country as well as with the country’s attitude to it. All know what Richter had come across in China, so I will not discuss that again in detail. Recently one of my friends from media sent me an Email, in which some artists who had imitated Richter for years were interviewed. As far as I know, some of them have stopped mimicking him, some are still imitating him to some extent, and others seem to be cannot but live on him in their left years. Their answers to the interview were so indirect and pointless that even Jin Yong may feel surprised about their skills in wording. Indeed, imitation is not a shame, and the giant’s shoulder is doomed to be stepped by his followers. However, one cannot live by stepping on other’s shoulder, and nobody can bear being trod for a long time, not to say an old man in his 70s.

Artistic creation differs from cooking a simple dish. For the latter, as long as you have adopted the proper method and chosen the right flavorings, the dish will not be too bad. However, for artistic creation, originalities in ideas, techniques or materials are essential. To achieve that is fairly difficult: some people have drained their energy to pursue such originality all his life, but they are still confined to what have been created by ancient people or foreigners. We could see the difficulties in painting; therefore, it is not difficult to understand the difference between paintings and simple dishes in their prices.

The year of 2008 will soon slip away, and we see the end of the first decade of the 21th century. We were so exciting when entering into the new century, but now it seems that the new century is nothing special, and we are doing what we ought to do.  I do not know who has made the beginning: although ages are accumulating, people all live their lives in a reversed way: at first we counted the left days to welcom the new millennium of 2000, then we welcomed 2008 Olympic Games held in Beijing, and now we are meeting the global economic crisis occurred once in a century.

Zhu Wei

Sunday, November 16th, 2008