I have studied painting for ten years, and in 2016 I turned to performance art. When I look back on my life archive, the reason why I started doing art is the first memory in my life about a magic snow.
According to my parents’ memories, when I was three years old, I moved to Changchun City, Jilin Province, Northeast China with them. My dad runs a jewelry store there, which is to melt customs’ jewelries and reshape them into other styles as their requirements. This process is not technically difficult for craftsmen, but the moment of quenching gold produces a lot of harmful gases, so my parents never let me near the place where they work.
The jewelry store was on the first floor and we lived the second floor. On the second floor, in my vague memory, it was an open place without much furniture. It even seemed to be a quite large and empty space. There were no walls, no rooms, and no doors between the bedroom, living room, and dining room, so I saw everything at a glance. I know this might be a wrong memory, because in northern China, winter is too cold, and the open space is not conducive to keeping warm. I don’t want to investigate why I reshape the memory of space, but I realized that I like open and empty interiors, such as art galleries, halls or theater stages better than any other crowded places.
My childhood is probably very monotonous, and I had no other kids to play in a strange city. Every morning my mother sent me to the nursery school, I was far from school age, maybe because I never cried and showed my adulted personality to teachers, the neighbourhood kindergarten allowed me to stay there while my parents could not take care if me. My mother said that I loved to go to school with a box of colored pencils every day and sit at the back of the classroom quiet. Because I couldn’t speak Mandarin, I couldn’t communicate with other kids. My mom was very worried about me, so she hid outside to observe me. According to her description, I stayed in the classroom for a whole day just drew silently.
One thing happened in the kindergarten, an accident. I peed on my pants one day in the winter. I didn’t tell anyone that neither the teacher nor the mother knew. On the way home from school, my mother discovered that I walked in an unnatural way, and I told her what happened. Because the temperature was very low, the wet pants freezed at once outdoors, which makes me a little unable to move my legs and it is very cold.
About the snow. I don’t like eating from childhood till now. Eating is boring and a waste of time. That was one lunch, I refused to eat anything on the table. My parents so disagreed my manner, so they asked me to leave the table and punished me to not have lunch that day. It might be a respect to my personal choice of lunch. I was stubborn, totally at my age. I needed to show my attitude and got rid of the control from my parents. I sit on the bed and looked out through the window, refused to talk to anyone. Then, it started to snow.The snow was getting thicker and deeper, and soon overwhelmed the second floor. I saw a white lamp in the snow, like a glowing straight line. The lamp glowed and was buried in the snow. This is an inexplicable phenomenon. I am in my autism, I pretend. I did not call anyone come to help explain what happened. My parents thought it was my memory disorder after many years I asked them about it. I also tried to find if there was a scientific explanation about the vision in the snow, such as the phenomenon of light refraction, to explain my memory, but it always failed. So that this scene has been hovering in my mind for many years, and it will never fall to the ground. That afternoon, sitting by the bed, the first time I wanted to rebel against the will of my parents, I was fascinated by this romantic snow and magic light buried in the heavy snow. I still remember how I slowly calmed down in this scene.
I try to talk to different people about my memory of the snow. I describe the picture in my brain or draw it down. I hope to find resonance. Find someone with a similar experience to solve my doubts or confirm the authenticity of my memory. In the long-term sharing, I think that art seems to be the best way to share personal experience, whether it is a drama, a film, a painting or words. What we are doing is to constantly use a medium to visualize private/subjective/personal experience, whether it is an imagination/fantasy or reality. These personal experiences will eventually converge into a common recognition, called art.
I don’t think about the authenticity of this memory anymore, I just want to remember it as long as I can. I went to different places and saw different landscapes. Whenever I encountered a charming scene, I always tried to write down the details of the moment in my memory and add my specific feelings to it. Every subtle emotional fluctuation can be recalled from the memory and present in my art practices in later life. This becomes my art.