Brilliance No. 2, digital print on Endura paper, 95 × 80 cm, 2003, 3/10
Whose Beauty: About “Rotten Organic Compounds”
When I returned to Xuzhou from Beijing in 2000, I continued with my works – the Tonic Series. Once after soaking some tomatoes in a vat, I then left town for some time. One day, a month later, I came to the studio as before and when lifting the wash basin which covered the glass bowl, I was astonished by the scene before my eyes: those tomatoes (I soaked in the bowl one month earlier) floated on the surface of the vat. They were covered with mold and long white hairs standing upright. I was shocked! It was a magnificent and enchanting scene despite the offensive odor.
I was thoroughly moved and couldn’t imagine a better scene than the one before me. I knew it was a beauty which came from a strange world, and too beautiful to describe. I couldn’t help the arrival of that kind of beauty, yet at the same time I was excited by it. As soon as the gate which lead to that strange place had been opened, I realized that it was too late to close it.
From 2000 to 2003, I indulged in this beauty, and was powerless to ignore the wonderful feeling, which was neither friendly nor aloof; neither real nor illusive; neither distinct nor indistinct. This Rotten Organic Compound wanders between existing and disappearing; between offensive odor and extreme beauty; between happiness and uneasiness, between fear and excitation.