BAN ZHENG – MESSAGES ON WALL
"As a foreign visitor and a curious spectator in China, I try to interpret signs and patterns I find, trying my best to understand the time and the world I am living in. From time to another I ask myself "Is that a message for me, on the wall?"
"In my paintings from Beijing, past and present, nearby and far away are
stored in layers above each other. That is how I use my imagination as a
key for interaction between the reality and the fantasy. In a project I
named "Messages from The Lower World" I collected my impressions from
the street language, archaeological finds and the sprawling contemporary
art I met in Beijing.
From the first time in China, when I rented a
studio in Beijing International Art Camp (BIAC) in Suo JIa Cun, I was
very curious in certain signs and patterns; on walls, lampposts and
frontages -where ever I looked in Beijing - I saw phone numbers to ring.
Often they had been painted over. The more I have thought about these
painted-over numbers, the more they have attracted me.
Various combinations of numbers have crept into my paintings. After a while I got round to asking my friends what the phone numbers were. 'Ban Zhen,' they said. They're part of the illegal license business. Marriage certificates, drivers' licenses, Ph.D. degrees. You can buy whatever kind of papers you need. Everything's for sale. Just make a call to the "Lower World"! A wall of beautiful gray-blue color has discrete squares in almost same color as the base. In its fight against the illegal trade license dealers and in their over-painting-zeal finds authority rarely the exact shade. I can find a wall that is covered with white squares, much like a typed A4 sheets with text covered by Tippex. I am really attracted!
I look at my motives as landscape paintings from the street, but wanted them also as made in a pilot perspective or the feeling when the village meets village, block face block."