Qing Hua Porcelain (Blue & White)

An Exhibition by Xu Tan
Exhibition Website
May 23rd – June 29th 2002)
Opening Reception May 23rd 6-8 PM)

Location One is pleased to announce artist-in-residence Xu Tan‘s forthcoming debut solo exhibition in New York City.

Qing Hua Porcelain (Blue & White) is a new video/sound installation in which Xu Tan explores the differences in American and Chinese cultural interpretations of what is “real” and what is “fake”. Although each culture distinguishes and classifies “real” from “fake”, neither clearly defines these terms.

Xu Tan draws his inspiration from the teachings of philosopher Chuang-Tzu (circa 250 BC). Successor to Lao Tzu and a foremost proponent of Taoism, Chuang-Tzu presumed that no matter how alike two things are, a difference between them can always be found and, conversely, no matter how different two things are, one can find a similarity between them. Objective similarities and differences do not justify any particular way of distinguishing between things.

Qing Hua Porcelain (Blue & White) consists of 3 videos in which Xu Tan posits that situations play out differently depending upon location (in this case China and America); location relates to culture, therefore culture plays a role in how one understands the world, interprets “true” and “false,” “authentic” and “fake”. Through a dialogue with an American female friend, Xu Tan sheds light on diverse interpretations of love, asking the question: “What is true love?” Xu Tan further addresses differences between “real” and “fake” by recording specialists of Qing Hua Porcelain—the well known Ming Dynasty china—who discuss the notion of “authenticity” and the controversy around authenticating these imported ceramics. Can anyone be certain that a piece is genuine or counterfeit?

On the night of the opening several Blue and White porcelain experts in locales throughout the world will be connected to the Location One chat room (rage.location1.org) to interact with and field questions from gallery patrons and online spectators. This dialogue will also be projected live in the gallery space.

Qing Hua Porcelain (Blue & White) was partly inspired by a line from the Chinese short novel, Dream of the Red Chamber that says, “if you turn something fake into something real, then the real things start to lose value becoming fake”.

Xu Tan was born in Wuhan, Hubei Province in 1957. In the early 1990s he joined the “Big Tail Elephant Group” in Guangzhou with Lin Yinlin, Chen Shaoxiong and Liang Juhui. The aim of this group is to develop critical strategies for negotiating the rapidly changing economic and cultural life in China.

We are particularly grateful to the Asian Cultural Council for making Xu Tan’s residency at Location One possible.