Flower in the mirror

Flowers in the mirror 2003-2005

Flowers in the mirror—A mirror with a natural perspective

During the late 1990s, I have engaged myself with a project involving experimenting with materials for a certain period of time. In the end this project turned out to be a failure. This project was about creating an “urban invisible piece of clothing” made of mirror plates. By wearing it, people would have a “mirror-like body.” Through the reflections of the surrounding buildings and scenery on its surface, people could integrate into the landscape, while at the same time deforming the landscape in accordance with their body shape. In this way people and scenery would integrate with each other, becoming one. Through the process of “concealing one’s body” and “disappearing” people would be able to become a real subject integrated with the scenery. 
In this case the word scenery shouldn’t be interpreted on the basis of its ordinary meaning, as common scenery. Scenery stands here as a metaphor for environment, survival, cultural identity etc. In traditional Chinese painting the scenery has been called “landscape (literally mountains and waters).”
Mirror images usually refer to the true reflections of things into a mirror, and are described in the literary field as the echo of a mental state. In reality, there are different kinds of mirrors produced industrially including: flat mirrors, convex mirrors, concave mirrors, distorting mirrors etc. Human eyeballs also use the principle of the mirror to allow people to see the world clearly and this is in line with scientific principles. So, the image is larger when the thing is closer to the eyes, and smaller when farther. As the example of the eyeball demonstrates, the world is not seen as an objective world, it is neither a real world. It is shaped by our own personal perspective which makes the world take the distances from objectiveness, and replace it with a personal perspective.
In the real world -which has never existed- we must choose a perspective from which observe things, and this is called basis point, also known as subjectiveness. In fact, we can see the world from different angles, but not at the same time. We can only hold a certain point of view per time. We used to see the world from the bottom, and only later could we see it relying on Western classical perspective. We also used the perspective of Western modernity to see the world, and now we rely on the Western notion of contemporary. This proves that we can also see the world from our own favorite perspective. 
Stones are the first natural prototypes of mirrors, and they provide me with my favorite angle of observation. The use of stainless steel rocks has provided me with the richest inspiration. While seeing the world through them, this world looks like a fragment of a landscape or a Taoist paradise. The context for this experience derives from those common experiences we Chinese people went through during our childhood, but it is no doubt that the world at that time for the Chinese meant only China. When coming in contact with the real multicultural world, we should reflect on how to avoid that kind of subjectivity that makes things look larger when they are closer and smaller when farther, and think about how to get rid of the pursuit of false illusions related to pure objectiveness. These are also the subjects I explore with my work. 
First of all, according to the ancient’s thought, the world changes continuously, without rest. But all the things created by humankind seem unable to satisfy the need for continuous change. For example, the shapes reflected onto the surface of a mirror can have just a definite number of changes, let’s say a dozen, and so they are not ever changing. What I mean is that, we must acknowledge that imagination is limited. “Stone Mirrors” provided me with infinite inspiration, and provided a solution to my being disappointed with human limits. So I can use them to reach a world which otherwise would be out of my reach, and couldn’t even imagine. I must admit that this is also the most basic function of artistic creation. 
We know that stones are characterized by a rich variety of mysterious patterns derived from their natural changes. Ancient literati saw these patterns as their own personal landscapes; following the same method, I also found the “landscape” I have been searching for in the “Stone Mirrors” I have created on my own.
In our world characterized by too much emphasis on human power, changes are limited, because human imagination is limited, too. But if seen from the natural perspective, the world is like a kaleidoscope, characterized by endless transformation. It is neither ordinary scenery, nor a common landscape. It is actually the objective world we don’t expect or control. What we can capture is only the moment of its transformation. It is like seeing the world with its sceneries of rapid change through a “Stone Mirror:” it is cloudy, foggy, and characterized by unpredictable transformations. This world similar to the realm of immortals seems to convey to its observers a feeling of eternity, and also of authenticity.
Why concealing the body? --- When men become the landscape and the landscape becomes men, we attain to the realm of immortals by merging with nature; but the so-called realm of immortals seems nothing in the eyes of common people.

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