It’s so hot this summer. There are flies and mosquitos flying all around. And the cicadas were making noise 24 hours a day. I couldn't calm down, just like the noisy environment. It has been a long time that I haven't written you a letter. I don't know how to start talking about the things that are going on here.
The persimmon tree grew so fast that its branches and leaves covered most of the wall paintings of Sol LeWitt. People are used to them and don’t take a look at them anymore. I know the leaves will fall in the Autumn and the wall paintings will appear again.
We made John Kormeling’s HI HA installation and installed it on the wall opposite the grocery. Every night, the HI HA glittered in the darkness. The villagers gathered at the grocery and talked to each other. All the people like this piece. John Kormeling once told me that he wanted to convey happiness through this work. So I think he succeeded because people here apparently appreciate it. The owner of the house planted beans in front of the installation. Soon the beans crawled over the whole rack and covered most of the installation. When the art is confronted with people’s practical interests, it gives way to the latter. Therefore, they can coexist in a harmonious way and enrich the art works. Because what I care about is the relationship between the art and its surrounding environment, not the art itself.
We also finished Dan Flavin’s circle light installation and installed it on the wall of my house. My father’s two friends helped with the design and made it. My mother made a red rain curtain. When the dusk falls, my father, like opening a theatre curtain, opens the red curtain to reveal the light. It drew lots of attention from the passers- by. They stopped and looked at it. Unlike the original work set in a white box in the museum, this work is set in the environment where there is the mix of earth, noise, crops, barebacked farmers, which injected vitality to this piece of work. It melted into the surrounding environment, forming a new landscape.
As the project continues, the copying of works goes more smoothly. On the one hand, it's because I get along well with the villagers and gain their support; on the other hand, it's because the slow pace of working gives them time to digest and accept the works. One villager came to me and asked me if I could paint Sol LeWitt’s Wall Drawing No.256 in the siting room of his new house. He likes this piece of work. A young man copied the “Ladder”(Sol LeWitt’s Wall Sculpture) and put it on the wall of his sitting room. It’s totally out of my expectation. I thought that the Western art works might produce conflicts when they were set in the village. But in fact, there isn't much conflict. People treated and accepted them in their own way.
It's so hot this summer. I realize the importance of the role of time in the project. So I slowed down the work pace on purpose. I keep reminding Zhong Ming that we are filming the time because we are feeling the passing of time. So we should film the time. All the people, the art pieces and the entire village are changing. I enjoy the everydayness. Art, like gold, hides in the everyday time. I planned to complete this project in the first half of the year. But now I have decided to work until the end of the year, around the same time when I started the project last year. Therefore, we have enough time to feel and record the art here and the village. The documentary we will make is not to tell a story but bring people to the space and time behind that story. I don't want the documentary to tell people what happened here. It's a documentary about time. It's an art work for me.
Many friends from different countries and regions came to visit me. My parents received them warmly. My father was very happy. He is enthusiastic for new things. He learned about the outside world by talking with the visitors. At the same time, he is learning about me through those conversations and understands me better.
The owner set up a shed on that empty open space where we planned to set Richard Long's wood circle. He did that for more compensation from the government. So I'm still waiting for the right time to do this piece of work. Maybe in the winter when all the leaves fall. Outside of the village, there are fallen branches all over the ground. I want to work with an old woman who is the neighbor of the library. She always rides her tricycle to pick those branches for firewood. I realized that art itself is not that important, what is important is that we see something beyond the art. And the things that are beyond art are much richer.
My parents helped me plant a patch of corn in front of the library. I painted Daniel Buren’s stripe painting on the fence. The corn grew fast in the air thick with dust. There is thick dust on the leaves, covering the green color. Many times I wanted to clean the leaves and then take pictures of them, but I told myself that wasn't reality. I wouldn't change them for a beautiful photo.
As the curator of this project, do you have some new opinions or views for the project after following the project for so long? Is the project going the way you expected? Have you thought about how we display this project to people? I have almost used up all the funds. Do you know from what channels I can get more funds to complete this project? The Autumn came. And the weather is getting cool.