Guo Cheng: Down To Earth
2019.12.28 (周六) 15:00
2019.12.28 - 2020.02.23
Rm 102, Building No.10,
Quantang Rd No.38,
Haizhu Dist, Guangzhou, China
“地气”（down to earth）是“一探究竟”（what’s on earth）。地表之下是一个沉淀中的混乱世界，遍布着工业残骸，有组织掩埋的污染物，无心遗落的日用品和幽灵般的辐射痕迹，是高耸入云的人类风景的脚印。蔓延“大地与大气”的技术圈层（technosphere）仿佛是人类全球性活动，尤其是二十世纪近代技术进展的物证——我们从未有如此能力在全球尺度上印刻地表。与此同时，无区别地接纳和吞噬所有人类活动，使得地表之下也成为狼藉的现场，一个被蕴造出的，混沌流淌的“庞然之物”（hyperobject, Timothy Morton）。这些栖居在星球表面和地表之下的人工痕迹，被卡在人类集体绝尘而去的进步路径和缓慢涌动的自然进程之间，但它绝非一个闷声不响的时间胶囊或人类文献。它时刻构建着人与其他物种的全新共处，并承载着自然随机的倒流与反噬。这片覆满“人类脚印”之所，也是郭城工作的田野。他将关于“人类世”课题的长期、丰厚的调研隐藏在作品的“地表之下”，呈现在观者面前的只有一系列兼具幽默和冷冽的物件。Bipin Indurkhyaz在《隐喻和认知》里提到，对特定问题的讨论，有时候是通过看似毫不相关之物，使得习以为常的东西忽而荒诞。 在郭城的作品中，看似毫不相关之物往往戳破我们虽置身其中，但其实所知甚少的庞大课题，如“人类世”。他用坊间传言“防电脑辐射”的绿萝装置探测大气中的本底辐射（《（临时的）小器具》），用X光捕获有意无意被固化在混凝土里的，幽灵般的技术物件（《琥珀》），并在阿姆斯特丹西北的一块二战后填海造出的土地上，创造了一块面积为一平米的“无人类痕迹”土地，向这片危机四伏的地层塞入一个没有人类信息的逆向时间胶囊（《一个被恰当重塑的过往》）。在他的创作中少见对“尖端”技术的卖弄，而通过捕猎那些“沉入地层”的零碎物件，窥视背后技术圈层的涌动。在这一系列的创作里，创作者是一个纯然的个体，面对这片由全球性技术活动所雕铸的地层和超越了个体时空尺度的对象，选择了用极微小而冷峻的方式去回应。或许这才是“庞然之物”的本质，这些大规模分散在空间和时间中，过于复杂的事件、系统或过程，本就无法整体性显露。至此也便可理解“荒诞”蕴藏的合理性，艺术家手里拿的并不是巨网，而是一根挑破的细针。Down to Earth implies “what’s on earth”. Beneath the earth surface is a chaotic world of deposits: industrial remains, landfilled pollutants, accidentally lost everyday objects, and ghostly traces of radiation - this world is the footprint, or casted shadows of the high-rising human landscapes.
The technosphere encompassing the earth and the atmosphere is as if the physical evidence of human activities on a global scale, especially the technological revolution in the twentieth century. Indeed, we have never been so capable of inscribing the earth. Meanwhile, indistinctly accepting and engulfing human activities has transformed the underground world into a notorious site, an embedded, chaotic “hyperobject” . The artificial traces on and beneath the earth surface, are stuck in between the superhighway of human technologies, and the slowing swarming nature. This layer is, however, never our time-capsule or archive, but constructs a new co-existence between human and non-human, embracing the regorge and reversal of nature.
The place crawled over by human footprints is Guo Cheng’s field of work. He conceals his long-term and rich research on the subject of anthropocene beneath the “surface” of his oeuvre, while modestly presents only a set of humorous yet calm objects. In “Metaphor and Cognition”, Bipin Indurkhyaz brings up the point that by juxtaposing the irrelevant objects, we could make the familiar strange again.  We could notice from Guo’s work that, the seemingly irrelevant objects often penetrate through something that we are immersed in, but rarely aware of, for instance - the anthropocene. His installation The (temporary) Gadget combines scindapsus (believed to radiation proof) and a Geiger-Mueller tube to detect the background radiation in the air; in Amber, he founds (via X-ray) artifacts/technical objects which solidified in artificial stone (concrete) with or without intention; A Felicitous Neo-Past, is then a project in which he creates a small piece of “human traces free” land at the artificial land of ADM(Amsterdam), which was reclaimed during the decade after WWII (1950s-1960s), and by doing so he inserts a paradoxical “time capsule” with no human information into this complex layer of the earth. Guo’s work is resistant of a parade of “high-technologies”, instead, the artist acts as a hunter whose attention is on the “buried” artificial objects and what they imply: the dynamics of the technosphere. In the presented works, the artist is a sole individual confronted with the earth sculpted by human activities, and subjects that exist beyond an individual’s perceptual time and space, he also responds in a minimal yet calm approach. Perhaps he captures the nature of the “hyperobject”, the complex yet massive scaled events, systems and processes scattered in time and space, will never reveal as a whole. At this point we could identify the rationality beneath the surface of absurdity: in hunt for the hyperobject, the artist has in his hand not a gigantic fishnet, but a fine needle.To leap into the world today, is to dive underneath the earth. 见《庞然之物：世界末日后的哲学和生态学》（Hyperobjects, Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World），2013，蒂姆·莫顿（Timothy Morton）。 Bipin Indurkhya, “Metaphor and Cognition,” in James H Fetzer (ed.), Studies in Cognitive Systems. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1993, p. 13.
郭城，1988年生于北京，现工作生活于上海。先后获得上海同济大学学士学位 (2010)与英国皇家艺术学院硕士学位 (2012)。他的作品大多关注主流或新兴科技对社会与文化方面的冲击与影响，以及置身其中的个体与社会生活之间的关系。
郭城近期的展览包括：“平行，似存在，未完成：行进的艺术工具”，当代艺术博物馆，上海(2019)；“真新镇日志”，UCCA 沙丘美术馆，秦皇岛(2019)；“机器人·间”，今日美术馆，北京(2019)；“开放代码.连接机器人”，新时线媒体艺术中心，上海(2019)；“追踪末日松茸”，泰康空间，北京(2019)；“卡拉卡拉大浴场”，广州画廊，广州(2019)；“魔都の鼓動”，当代艺术博物馆，日本熊本(2018)；“Life Time”, MU空间，荷兰埃因霍温(2017)；“时间的狂喜”，何香凝美术馆，深圳(2017)。曾获得华宇青年奖评委会特别奖(2018)、生物艺术奖，荷兰海牙(2017)。
Guo Cheng (b.1988, Beijing), currently lives and works in Shanghai. He was graduated from MA Design Products at Royal College of Art (London, UK) and obtained his BE in Industrial Design at Tongji University (Shanghai, China). Currently based in Shanghai. His practice mainly focuses on exploring the interrelation between mainstream/emerging technologies and individuals under the context of culture and social life.
His recent exhibitions include: “The Process of Art: TOOLS AT WORK”, Power Station of Art, Shanghai, China (2019); “Notes from Pallet Town”, UCCA Dune, Qinhuangdao, China (2019); “Deja vu”, Today Art Museum, Beijing, China (2019); “Open Codes. Connected Bots”, Chronus Art Center, Shanghai, China (2019); “Free Panorama”, Pingshan Culture Center, Shenzhen, China (2019); “Tracing the Mushroom at the End of the World”, Taikang Space, Beijing, China (2019); “Bath of Caracalla”, Canton Gallery, Guangzhou, China (2019); “Shanghai Beat”, Contemporary Art Museum, Kumamoto, Japan (2018); “Machines Are Not Alone: A Mechanic Trilogy”, Chronus Art Center, Shanghai (2018); “Life Time”, Mu Art Space, Eindhoven (2017); “The Ecstasy of Time”, He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen (2017) etc. He won the Special Jury Prize of Huayu Youth Award (Sanya, 2018), and the BADaward (The Hague, 2017).