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Artist Statement:

There is distance from A to B.

From turning on the switch to the light going on is a distance. Electricity arrives in its own speed. This notion of speed captivates me and there is a beautiful sensation in it.

I arrive in my own speed from scratch line to end point.

What is the connection between these speeds?

I attempt through my own speed to feel and catch the speed of electricity. I don’t compete with electricity but I try to find an intersection between my speed and the speed of electricity.

The following are images from Hu Qiangxian’s performance at Shanghai’s Rockbund Museum of Art on August 6th, a part of the “Taking the Stage Over” series, curated by Biljana Ciric. All photos are courtesy of the curator, to read more about the year-long series, check here.

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It’s clear, the light illuminates even before he has taken his first step. The action of so ferociously attempting this futile race against electricity exhibits a strength that seems increasingly admirable in our age of apocalyptic fear-mongering.

It seems to be the epitome of what I find fascinating about Guangzhou artists in comparison to Beijing artists. Painter and intellectual Chen Tong, founder of Libreria Borges, calls it the “acte gratuite” (无动机)after Duchamp, and in her article “Accidental Conceptualism,”  (e-flux) independent curator Carol Yinghua Lu uses a similar tone to discuss Hu Xiangqian’s controversial work, The Sun (2008), in which the artist tans himself over a consecutive two months, stopping at “the point at which he became a black-skinned man.”

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