Artist He Yunchang (aka A Chang) is sleeping outside in Beijing’s Caochangdi art village till the grass grows. (all photos by xingrui_beijing)

LOS ANGELES — I first noticed a few pictures of a curious performance piece on Sina Weibo and then Ai Weiwei also posted about it on his Twitter account. Since March 24, He Yunchang, also known as A Chang, has been sleeping outside in the Beijing artist village of Caochangdi (whose name literally means “Grassland/s”) until the grass is fully grown. This is no easy task — Beijing can be bitterly cold, dry, dusty and polluted — and he estimates the performance to take 14-21 days.

One of Caochangid’s many cats comes to pay a visit.

The poetic concept, explained in a posting on the wall, reveals that the piece is a commentary on human choice in the grand scheme of things:

1. In a brief or long life, one thousand people can have 10,000 types of choices for how to live. (在短暂或漫长的一生种,一千个人可以有一万种不同生存方式的选择。)

2. The effect of humanity’s wisdom and desire on the world is pale and helpless. (人类的心智与欲望对世界的作用苍白而无奈。)

A Chang has long been practicing endurance work.  In 2007, he walked around Great Britain — literally, around the island nation — to return a rock to same place where he picked it up. In 2004, he sealed himself inside a cement block in Beijing for 24 hours.

Xingrui_beijing gave A Chang a pear, and he hung it up on the tree. He can only use sign language to interact with the audience.

What I like about A Chang’s performance is that it lends itself to a social media presence. I’m not able to see the show in person but have been watching it unfold over Sina Weibo, with the grass slowly growing and the artist’s cleanliness slowly deteriorating. I’m not sure if he intended for the work to evolve online, but the fact that photos are allowed certainly helps.

With thanks to xingrui_beijing for her photos and answering a few questions about the work.

The Latest

Required Reading

This week, another Benin bronze is returned to Nigeria, looking at the Black Arts Movement in the US South, Senegal’s vibrant new architecture, why films are more gray, and much more.

Jiha Moon’s Artistic Breakthrough

It is precisely Moon’s openness to using any source that makes her work flamboyant, captivating, odd, funny, smart, uncanny, comically monstrous, and unsettling. And, most of all, over the top.

An Xiao

Artist An Xiao (aka An Xiao Mina) photographs, films, installs, performs and tweets and has shown her work in publications and galleries internationally. Find her online at @anxiaostudio...

One reply on “Artist Sleeps Outside Till the Grass Grows”

  1. To the untrained idea, this looks suspiciously like that rarified art form known as camping.

Comments are closed.