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Shadow of Stray Birds

Date: 2023.12.30-2024.02.29

Inna Art Space is pleased to announce the group exhibition "Shadow of Stray Birds" on December 30, 2023. The exhibition will showcase works by Bignia Wehrli, Candida Höfer, Chen Dongfan, Ding Renyuan, Liao Wenfeng, Li Xi, Liu Beining, Walter Robinson, and Zhao Ying, exploring the visual experience of the contradiction or transformation between movement and stillness through mediums such as painting, photography, and video.


The title "Shadow of Stray Birds" derives from the passage in Zhuangzi's "Tian Xia": "The shadow of a flying bird never moves." In the discourse on the paradox in the section of "Tian Xia," the question arises whether the shadow cast by a swiftly flying bird is moving or not. The debate on movement and stillness is a favorite topic among ancient philosophers concerning coordinates, directions, states, or sensations. In the field of visual arts, the paradox of "Flight and Stillness" becomes the foundation for creating images. By manipulating the illusion of movement and stillness, the image is interpreted as a fusion of visual experience and objective reality. Artists may lean towards expressive language of perceptual experience or engage in the reconstruction of objective and austere techniques. Regardless of the inclination, it inevitably contains, disrupts, and reconstructs the seemingly opposing side.


In the passage from "Tian Xia," there are other intriguing paradoxical debates such as "fire not being hot, a dog not being a dog, a wheel not rolling on the ground, eyes not seeing, fingers not reaching, reaching without cessation, a foot-long ruler taking half every day, never exhausting for ten thousand generations." Zhuangzi criticizes these logical paradoxes, stating, "It brings comfort to people without gaining anything, chasing after myriad things yet knowing not how to return. It is truly lamentable, as if sound ceases to echo and form competes with shadow in a race without end." While on the level of linguistic logic, this may seem like a futile play of words, in the realm of visual arts, they can become a means to approach truth. The dynamic and static aspects of the bird's shadow projection mutually destruct and construct, as the artist's calm observations and passionate hands add layers to the visual paradox, continuously approaching a certain reality.