Mulan River ־ Cuò
Consulting curator: Drorit Gur Arie
Since they began collaborating on installation art in 2008, the Mulan River has been the major subject addressed by brothers Yufan and Yujun Chen and the hallmark of their work as a whole. Around the river they construct a domestic space; a house which is the infrastructure enabling them to use data fragments, scattered throughout it, to describe a unique living space and its residents’ alienated identity.
The Mulan River flows through Putian in the Fujian Province—hometown of the artists, who are expatriates like many other Chinese—like a thread that binds the memories of a clan, linking past and present. The imagined journeys of the clan members who moved from the traditional village to the modern metropolis; the deeply-rooted ethnic and religious culture of the old homeland; the series of blows to traditional society, especially in the last decade; the artists’ own experience of the traditional village growing into a modern city; and a reexamination of such concepts as “native” and “international” under this new paradigm—all these intertwine to produce the Mulan River Project. The river, which once bore the clan’s other half out into the southern seas, is the origin point of this intricate thicket.
The true motif of the Mulan River Project, however, is not the river, but the house. Ephemeral wooden scraps, cheap plywood, bubble-wrapped objects, a tattered brick wall laid from cut books, a rickety old-style door, mysterious architectural elements that carry rich flavors of the ancestral homeland, and old family photographs interspersed in between them—all these come together to transform the multiplicity of microscopic gazes into a sweeping personal epic.
Zhiling Fang, June 2017
The exhibition is held in collaboration with the Blue Mountain Contemporary Art Platform