For an exhibition in Beijing I am making various sculptures based on the 12 Chinese Zodiac Animal Signs: The Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.
In China Confucius and Laozi (Dao) are two of the greatest philosophers at a number of philosophical schools. Over time the time they have been ascribed a status of »holy« and in a rather shallow way you could say that Confucianism is an official, a government and state-thinking religion – “rational” – in contrast Daoism is popular, diverse, incomprehensible with many religious traditions in trade. The 12 animals are said to be of Buddhist origin.
In the Chinese tradition of thinking we often see Confucius, Laozi and Buddhism in a number of different combinations on a daily basis. For decades the history, religion and traditions of Communism has been despised, but in recent years it has been officially reinstated as an identity-creating and unifying factor – like the The New Face of European Right-Wing Populism. The exhibition attempts to relate the points in the Chinese and Western tradition and discuss the “return” of history in modern times.
It is said that if Confucianism is a masculine shape, the shape of Dao would be the feminine. “Know the male, but keep the female and you will be a relative to the world. Nothing in the world is more soft and weak than the water, but when it comes to catch the tough and strong, no one can outdo it”. Therefore, the idea is that the 12 animal signs are worn by women, and in addition to the animal mask each figure carries two artifacts.