Artist: Gu Xiong
Date: May 2 to 18, 1991
Artist's Lecture: May 3
An installation and exhibition commemorating China's June '89 massacre at Tianneman Square.
Chinese artist, Gu Xiong, fled his country after the Tienamen Square massacre and created a memorial at Open Space in May, the second anniversary of the students' demonstration for democracy that was crushed by the army.
Gu Xiong, a Chingqing native, moved to Vancouver. First trained in printmaking, he has turned to larger works and performance art to express his themes. His Victoria installation recalls some of the most horrible images from the June 4, 1989 clash between students and the People's Liberation Army, the flattened, mangled, bicycles, a futile attempt to keep the kids out of Tienanmen Square.
Gu Xiong, Enclosure, Open Space 1991
Gu piled 300 bicycles up to the cieling, which was symbollic of the barricades of bicycles erected by students in Bejing. He painted the gallery walls to resemble chain-link fencing and barbed wire. Twice before Gu had mouted similar productions, and played an active part in the performance.
Gu wrote to Open Space outlining his ideas for the piece: "One bicycle is one person. Man bicycles are together. There is unity. It is 'peoples power. Tanks can roll over the barricades of bicycles, but people's inner power is not conquered. People's power is eternal."
Gidney, Norman, "Multi-media art tells of massacre" in Open Space Archives, Victoria, B.C. (Box 19, File 1991: S3)
Gathering bicycles for Enclosure, Open Space, 1991
Enclosure = A Statement
Because disturbance exists for humans,
they make many enclosures for themselves.
It becomes an emblem of their culture
and an emblem of isolation and opression.
Confront the Great Wall, the Paris Bastille Wall and the Berlin Wall:
we understand the isolation between humanity and nature,
one people and another people, the person and the self.
Confront the Tiananmen Square;
we are amazed at this tragedy:
humanity trying to break down the "enclosure".
We see some of these enclosures but we can't see most of them;
they are so common, they become invisuvle.
Even if we can break through the enclosures that we see,
we are still not altogether free,
because many enclosures are within our selves.
This puzzle belongs to the human mind and body.
I hope thato ne day people can discard these "Enclosures"
- the ones that are inside and outside -
to better comprehend and to awaken the link between
humanity and nature, one people and another people,
ther person and his or her self.
Gu Xiong, 1991