We met Ju Anqi at the beginning of this year in Beijing where he told us about his work and about his film “There is a strong wind in Beijing” from 1999.
Intrigued by the title and by what we heard about it, we watched the film some weeks ago in Beijing, where we are currently staying for a month during our residency exhibition at Apartment 307. Over the course of this year, we, Barbara Signer, Michael Bodenmann and I have individually dealt with the question of space in all its variations. Public space, private space, mind space, utopian space within our practice as artists. During summer, we spent two months in a self organised artist residency in Iceland, where a humble house was filled up with up to 23 artists, designers, writers, musi- cians. Within this process, we explored the limitations of public and private spaces.
Similar questions arise when Ju Anqi approaches people on the street, as- king them whether he can sit with them for dinner - or when he rings peo- ple’s apartments doors to ask them whether they think that the wind in Beijing is strong. He also doesn’t stop at public toilets or beauty parlours, constantly roaming between interior spaces and the street. It feels like he is stretching space itself, challenging its limits in a guerilla style. The question he asks is very simple, yet poetic, subtle, mundane, and charged. The wind serves as a metaphor for a feeling, a movement, a point of view. To ask alone is often a provocation - people’s reactions aren’t always friendly.
In a meeting we had with him some days ago, he also said that he had used the metaphor of blankets before in his films - an everyday object everyone relates to. He mentioned that he once wrote a manuscript in a single Pari- sian night and finished his film “Paris Party” within 3 days - and that in his newest film „poet on a business trip“, he used sex and nature as main pro- tagonists. Reacting to a “foreign” environment, using everyday objects and phenomenons as stand-in’s for a wider discussion is an approach that we also apply in our own work as can be seen later on in our group show opening on the 20th of this month.
As Ju Anqi noted himself, it is the first time that his work gets shown in an apartment setting. It is of course not a common apartment but also a public space, an exhibition space, a space for thoughts, and yet - a space where we three live. Within this complex setting, we thought it would be a good idea to watch the film and have a deeper conversation around various methods of approaching space and using common objects as part of our language. We are very happy that he is here with us today and invite you to share your thougths about environment, strangeness and familiarity, winds, objects, and metaphors with us.