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Xiao Lu

Dignity of Remembering

 

1st March – 30th March

Many events have been erased in modern Chinese history, and the truth is hidden within a web of distorted narratives. Here, I present fragments of history as I have experienced them to ensure they are not forgotten, and the dignity of history is upheld.

 

On December 1, 2017, The New York Times published an article titled “Beijing Razes Migrant Neighbourhood, Evicting Tens of Thousands,” stating: “Tens of thousands have already been uprooted in the city’s most aggressive drive against migrant neighbourhoods that people can recall…” 1

 

On December 5, 2017, I visited Xinjian Village in Beijing’s Daxing District. Amidst the ruins and debris, I captured the aftermath of this devastation. Over three days in the cold winter, over three hundred thousand non-locals were driven away. Mainstream media turned a blind eye, leaving only scattered information on social media platforms like WeChat.

 

These displaced people were referred to as the “low-end population”. Some days later, on December 15, I went to Picun Village in the Chaoyang District, where I recorded the very last stage of the forcible razing of this village.

 

On June 4, 2019, I attended the “June 4” candlelight vigil at Victoria Parkin Hong Kong for the first time. The persistence of Hong Kong people in upholding this candlelight vigil for thirty years moved and humbled me. The Hong Kong “Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill” mass protests, which began on June 9, 2019, awakened my conscience and courage. On September 12, I performed a performance titled “Skew” in Hong Kong, showing my unwavering support for the city. From then on, I joined Hong Kongers on the streets, resembling a war correspondent, holding a camera on footbridges, along the streets, and within the marching crowds. I remember being hit by tear gas, struggling to keep my eyes open, and running on the streets hand in hand with friends. In those unforgettable days, I stood with the people of Hong Kong.

 

Unexpectedly, the momentous “Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill” movement in Hong Kong saw a massive turnout of over two million people marching on the streets. Eventually, it was forcefully suppressed with the enactment of the “National Security Law.”

 

The longstanding Victoria Park candlelight vigil commemorating the June 4 Incident, lasting for thirty years, was subsequently banned, and many Hong Kong people were arrested and imprisoned.

 

On July 3, 2023, the Hong Kong police astonishingly offered a reward of one million Hong Kong dollars for each of the eight Hong Kong individuals overseas whom they sought to apprehend.

 

Amid historical upheavals, the opportunity to participate in and witness events firsthand has made me feel that my life is not just about mere survival.

 

In this exhibition, I hope to gather some debris and rubble, placing them on the gallery floor. I will also display photographs and videos I captured in Beijing and Hong Kong, along with records of the performance of Skew in Hong Kong, hanging them on the walls or laying them on the ground. Xiao Lu will execute on site the process of installation that normally precede an exhibition at the opening itself, thereby breaking up the usual ritual of an exhibition opening. The interaction between Xiao and the public produces a situational resonance.

 

Xiao Lu

26 November, 2023

 

1 Quoted from “The New York Times” article by Chu Bailiang, 1 December 2017. “Beijing Razes Migrant Neighborhood, Evicting Tens of Thousands”. https://c.nytimes.com/china/20171201/china-beijing-migrants/dual/

 

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