Boundary River, oil on board, 169×146cm, 2012
In the countryside of China, land is a heavy issue. In 1999, when my father passed away in an accident, the land that he had cultivated was handed down to me. I was at a loss, and avoided returning to my hometown. But the problem was not solved because of my detachment, and my sense of identity gradually disappeared. In 2014, I decided to use one of the plots of land to produce a work, to re-examine my relationship to my birthplace, which felt both strange and amiable. Finally, I made my peace through the fatigue that came from the constant falls into the field and the mud.for 2 hours. The name of the work, Freedom Farming, comes from the land certificate issued by the village committee, and from the sense of salvation that came from the performative act itself. ‘Freedom Farming’ is a work about the dialogue between me and my father, and my present reality. I attempt to find a balance between the three, or save some things that are already lost through this behavior; also I want to confirm my sense of identity, of belonging, via this path.
As much as Tang Dixin’s video may give the impression of a documentary film, once the work begins to reel, one quickly realizes the necessity for adopting a fictional perspective. A young Chinese Tang, who met a young Japanese Nan and convinced him to be buried in a hole among the reeds. This process seemed like two lonely strangers coincidentally met and played a game together, a unique encounter that could not have be repeated. Tang Dixin has an acute ability to grasp theatricality in a contemporary sense–the unusual, illogical and arbitrary encounters of strangers in an unfamiliar environment. The tacit understanding the two men have achieved is final, which neither has a past or a future, nor influenced by any conditions, but in the scenes constructed by these moving images here and now.
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