Proposal for public assembly/encounter
Curated by Chelsea Qianxi Liu
Hu Wei's Proposal for Public Assembly/Encounter is a model of the particular place – the “square” as an archetype, to explore the way in which images (shapes) in the “intermediate zone” are created and written somewhere in between political seriousness, mass entertainment, and consumer potential.
In this work, Hu Wei returns to his birthplace of Dalian to inspect a landmark piece of urban architecture, Stalin Square (now the People's Square). This location carries a rich historical narrative, public memory, and a constant shift in ownership as the country's political climate changes. The work is centered on an essay-style film, and at the same time, it extends to a series of documents, pictures and installations. From several dimensions, the “square” is a public and private assembly space, and memory files of individuals and collectives are simultaneously outlined and displayed. We have seen how distinct political venues, recreational venues, and carnival-like leisure venues are clustered together and transformed into each other. The flat square and the buildings, sculptures and gardens contained in it form a “typical” public image. This public image slowly emerges from the political context and gradually evolves into an entertaining image.
Hu Wei has also focused on several images (shapes) in the square with multiple symbolic and symbolic meanings, including the sculpture and the music fountain. In 1955, the Soviet Martyrs Monument (including a Soviet soldier sculpture and an obelisk) was completed. In 1999, this monument was moved to the Lushun Soviet Martyrs Cemetery, and the original site was converted into a flag-raising platform and a large fountain that plays music. Without talking about the political history behind it, the square sculpture and musical fountain serve merely as a kind of “decoration”, pointing to the human body, political declaration, collective carnival. They are the embodiment of a certain type of space. Lingering ideology has shaped and disintegrated many shared memories related to it. For the square, the presence and absence of the image of the sculpture, its appointment as a place of various specific attributes, its gatherings and varied purposes, have given it a certain “performative” shape.
Chelsea Qianxi Liu