Various Works

Artist: Qiu Zhijie
installation, painting | 35 colour-print scrolls | 2015

As artist, writer, curator, professor and thinker, Qiu Zhijie draws on many different artistic sources and bodies of thought, from contemporary art to Chinese traditions of ink painting and calligraphy, which he has studied from youth. The artist’s investigations of sociological, political, philosophical and epistemological research have shaped a life practice of ‘Total Art’, a tool for proposing ‘a new way’ through the critique of habit and the opening of new genealogies. In his 2012 thesis on ‘Total Art’, Qiu encourages self-observation and discusses how custom and belief often make cultural instantiations seem preordained and inevitable rather than man-made. He identifies the current era as one organised by fundamental division, separating individual honour from social obligation, labour from creation, art from life, radicalism from compromise, city from countryside, and self from other. He characterises this era’s psychosis as a symptom of a grave spiritual illness. For SB14, the artist presents a large selection of colour prints and scrolls based on his ink works that trace wide-ranging connections across geography, history and culture. A selection of maps—Map of Games: Used to Being a Loser (2016), Map of Human Emotions: Both Despair and Hope Are Extinct Volcano (2016) and Map of Fate: Heaven's Movement Is Ever Vigorous(2016)—charts the psychogeographies of the human condition while another map ventures off the wall, surveying the connections between Chinese and Arab historical exchange and encounters. All reveal Qiu’s interest in the uncharted, demonstrating his belief that art, and therefore life, must bear the labour of imagination and openness. Thinking through the boundaries of cartography, Qiu goes beyond the discipline itself (its mapping of control, study and conquest), employing these inked studies to expose alternate windows of learning about human action, its production and its interconnected and interdependent manifestations.


Journey Beyond the Arrow@Sharjah Biennial 14 - Leaving the Echo Chamber | 2019.03.07 - 2019.06.10 | Sharjah Art Foundation(Sharjah, United Arab Emirates)