《I LOVE: AIJING》
Ai Jing solo exhibition
People's Fine Arts Publishing House
I grew up in Shenyang, a city of heavy industry in northeastern China that is also known as the son of the republic. In order to avoid being sent down to the countryside, my mother, who was 19 at the time, married my father, a 23-year-old worker in the Shenyang No. 1 Machine Tool Factory. My father was good at playing several folk instruments and my mother, who had a sweet voice, excelled at singing the local opera pingju of northern China. Their love of music brought them together during those days of material deficiency. I was born the year after they married. After that, my mother gave birth to my younger sister, Ai Hong, and seven years later to my youngest sister, Ai Dan, a heavy burden on herself and my father who earned small wages.
The Tiexi District where I grew up was an area of heavy industry, with many factories and many workers. A large-scale factory would have more than 10,000 workers, with some having even as many as several tens of thousands. The workers and their children lived in a community of homes provided by the factory. So the workers were neighbors as well as colleagues. Everyone’s living standard was more or less the same. Families with multiple sons were always short of money. However, when they grew up, the sons could take over their parents’ positions in the factories and have a guaranteed livelihood. So life went on in Tiexi District with children replacing their parents, year after year.
I was born into a family of workers, even though my ancestors were from the countryside. I was born during the industrial Great Leap Forward. As a child, I often went to the factory to play while my parents worked. I loved the smell of lubricating oil in my father’s workshop. The cloth for cleaning machine tools was drenched with the sweet smell of oil. While the mysterious and massive machines moved back and forth along their tracks, my father and his fellow workers, all wearing thick blue cotton uniforms, were quietly immersed in their work, as if in some sort of spiritual state. They labored for long hours, the factory never coming to a halt. When the factory was busy, the workers had to work in three shifts. Labor was a glorious thing in those days and I will never forget those scenes that were full of vitality.
The four seasons were distinct in the north, winters being extremely cold with temperatures ranging from negative10 degrees centigrade down to negative 30 degrees. The majority of wives and mothers also worked in the factories. There was not such a thing as a full-time housewife in the days of Mao Zedong. My maternal grandfather and grandmother had left the countryside in their late teens and arrived in Shenyang
carrying just two silver dollars. They raised several children here, and like other northern women who had to work, my grandmother had to raise her children and take care of her family while working. Since I was a little girl, throughout the winter I wore the cotton-padded jacket that my grandmother had made for me. When our life had improved a little, my mother started to knit woolen sweaters, pants, hats and gloves for me. Knitted woolen clothing was quite expensive in those days and was considered luxurious and fashionable. Female workers would bring their needlework to the factory during mid-day break and pass on knitting skills. Therefore the industrial cities of northern China boast a fine tradition of skillful wool knitting rooted in emotional exchange. Almost every woman in the north knows how to knit.
My hometown of Shenyang hobbled forward during the reform years. As China moved toward a market economy, the old “iron rice bowl” system that used to provide everyone with housing, jobs, medical care and other social benefits had to be gradually reformed. On the road to independence and individualism, all families suffered. As a young girl from a working family, I was restless and yearned for change and independence. I looked forward to a brand new system in which everyone would have equal opportunity and not rely on the system to be fed. I therefore could not comprehend the fear that my elders felt in the face of reform.
After Deng Xiaoping’s Southern Journey, China has been surging forward with ups and downs for 30 years. In my hometown of Shenyang, my parents went along with these changes. But my mother never gave up knitting clothes for me. Just this past winter, she pressed upon me a bag full of newly knitted hats, scarves and sweaters. And all the things she knitted for me were of the measurements of me as a teenager. I have always been troubled by the knitted things that mother has made for me. I no longer need them and heavy yarn is not really the best material for warmth. But my mother will not give up her custom of knitting beside a lamp late at night.
Recently, I invited my mother, all her friends and relatives in Shenyang, our neighbors, my middle school classmates and their families and neighbors, to help my mother complete a tapestry. By knitting with yarn from old woolen sweaters, pants, gloves, scarves and other woolen items that we no longer wear, they made a tapestry with the word LOVE on it. The colors could be freely matched, but not overlapping when possible. Through the efforts of dozens of relatives and friends, a LOVE tapestry installation came into being, rich in color and free in style.
A statue of my mother was put at the end of the tapestry, diligently knitting.
Substitution and transformation: Using old materials and through collective and individual emotional memories, we have rediscovered value and given it a new definition.
In the past few years, I have been continuously learning and transforming myself in music and visual arts. I have tried all possibilities, creating and searching, trying to discover the intersection between the past and the present and to use emotion and rational thoughts to develop works that can communicate with the present and the future. This is my love.
AIJING 30 April 2012
Ai Jing’s Parables
Life is barren without love. Ai Jing’s ruefully titled installation The Tree of Life (2010) makes that point with a single stunning visual metaphor: a leafless tree in a barren landscape, its jagged branches looking like the fingers of a hand clutching upward— futilely—for divine rescue. A single black bird perches on one limb. No partner, no succor. The piece could serve as a stage set for Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, whose scene specifications are as stark as the play’s worldview: “A country road. A tree. Evening.” The fact that Ai’s ensemble is composed entirely of cheap, throwaway chopsticks only adds to the irony. The means of feasting, noodle-shop fashion, are at hand—but no food is in sight. Ai’s arid land waits for nutrients—for rain, for love—much as Beckett’s two hobos wait eternally, vainly for God.
In contrast, some of Ai’s works—especially the handsome paintings in which the word “love” is infinitely repeated—can be seen as purely decorative. In fact, she exhibited a number of such works in New York a few years ago in an up-scale home design store. And why not? Purveying artwork in this manner is common practice in several culturally rich countries, notably Japan. Moreover, the divide between art and everyday life is constantly open to question. (Should it even exist at all?) And thematically, such breaking of arbitrary borders seems entirely proper. Love, by its very nature seeks to overcome divisions of race, social class, nationality, age, and cultural heritage. Domestic interiors today could well use painterly tokens of unity and deep affection, just as older households once welcomed ancestor tablets and portraits of saints. But Ai’s works also transcend that merely talismanic function.
Like Jasper Johns’s flags and numbers, like Andy Warhol’s serial portraits of celebrities, these pieces—especially now that they are on view in a museum context—raise the issue of signification: what is the relationship between a symbol and its sense? It might seem at first that each iteration of the emblem (U.S. flag, numbers, Marilyn Monroe, Campbell’s soup cans) evokes a different aspect of the designated experience—the infinitely varied, constantly changing encounter between consciousness and its object of scrutiny. But the uniformity of the treatment soon induces a perceptual numbness. Viewing the pictures becomes like hearing the Beatles’ “love, love, love . . . love is all you need, love is all you need” chanted endlessly. Through repetition we come to realize that a free-floating signifier (in this case, the word “love”) is a contradiction in terms. To float free is to not signify at all. Meaning must be rooted in particular circumstances—a “situation,” to use Jean-Paul Sartre’s existential terminology.
Ai brings this point home powerfully in her LOVE tapestry (2012), a 600-by-1600- centimeter wall piece accompanied by a life-size figurative sculpture. Hundreds of rectangular patches, each a distinct color and each bearing the word “love,” were knit by the artist’s mother, aided by relatives and friends in Ai’s hometown, the industrial northeastern city of Shenyang, where her parents both worked in factories during Ai’s girlhood. The wool is repurposed from items of clothing that Ai’s mother made for her over the years as a way of providing comfort and warmth despite their physical separation.
It is no coincidence that Ai has titled her exhibition not simply “LOVE” but rather “I LOVE: Ai Jing.” The artist thereby lays claim to the act of loving. For Ai, love is clearly an endeavor—a long series of kind actions—not simply a passive condition that befalls one. It requires will and application; it is something one does—as constantly, as selflessly, as freely as her mother, over so many hours and decades, knit those innumerable caps, scarves, gloves, dresses, and sweaters. The seated female figure memorialized in the work’s fiberglass sculpture is that industrious, unassuming mother, whose devoted labors put her in a class with the loyal Penelope of Greek myth.
My Hometown (2012), a video installation of local footage contained in a 109-centimeter- tall metal tank that resembles a time capsule, suggests how passionately Ai wants to preserve her memories of family and home. She has even collected, and sometimes painted on, antique doors—symbolizing, no doubt, our access to individual and collective memory. True love, the old doors remind us, should not be contained and locked away. Indeed, it takes the form of broad, outward-flowing compassion in the works Ai made in response to the Sichuan earthquake. The disaster occurred on May 12, 2008, killing approximately 70,000 people, injuring 375,000, and leaving 5-11 million homeless. The news was so overwhelming that Ai has, in effect, let it speak for itself. She created individual paintings for the days from May 13 to May 18, 2008, each work showing a scattering of newspapers with the date superimposed over the entire image. In addition, a painting for May 12 bears only the date in white lettering on a field of uniform black, presumably because there was no print coverage on the day the earthquake occurred—or it was simply too horrific to contemplate.
The same date-only treatment was applied to May 19-25, perhaps because the story had left the front pages by then. These latter works recall Japanese artist On Kawara’s date paintings, which he does on a daily basis no matter where he is, and his “I am still alive” telegram series—except that in Ai’s works the implicit message is “they are still dead.” Yet, as On Kawara’s project implies, mindfulness matters. By bringing her attention—and ours—repeatedly to the Sichuan tragedy, Ai performs a gesture of profound empathy, both with the victims and with the loved ones they left behind. The impenetrable monochromes may also be a subtle indictment of the official silence that to this day shrouds many construction issues raised by the Sichuan event.
Ai’s intense fellow-feeling is not restricted to Chinese compatriots, however. One of her more surprising works is Guns and Roses (2012), a 300-by-450-centimeter screen print with oil pastel highlights, based on a famous antiwar photograph taken in the United State. For American viewers, this image (which Ai also uses in a series of smaller acrylic-on- canvas variations) has become iconic. Shot by the French photographer Marc Riboud, it depicts a 17-year-old peace protestor named Jan Rose Kasmir at the October 21, 1967, rally outside the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Without regard to her personal safety, the young woman—one of approximately 100,000 protestors present that day—proffers a flower in the face of the bared “at ready” bayonets of some of the 2,500 riflemen guarding the U.S. military command center.
Riboud’s picture—along with a similar Washington Star image of a young man actually inserting a flower in a gun barrel—has become emblematic of Vietnam War-era “flower power”: the Gandhi-like opposition of brute force with compassionate nonviolent resistance. These encounters took place just few weeks after the famous Summer of Love, during which San Francisco became a gathering point for the disaffected and idealistic youths dubbed “hippies.” That sharp contrast reminds us that circumstances can change quickly, and the course of love, whether individual or communal, is seldom smooth. No matter how much one reveres or prettifies deep affection, it exists in a hostile—or at the very least indifferent—world dominated by considerations of power and strategy.
Fortunately, the emotion commemorated in the Guns and Roses is not as passive as it might at first appear. Love is here posited, rather, as an active counter-force to the reign of weapons. The soldiers are stiff and unmoving, while the girl and her fellow demonstrators exude a fluid vitality like that which infuses her flower. One senses that steel may triumph temporarily, but that a living tide of history swells through the unarmed protestors. (Eight years later, the U.S. government withdrew its military units from Vietnam.) Thus this image has resonance throughout the world, wherever such confrontations take place.
Ai also addresses the more intimate frustrations that love is heir to. Her Sound of New York (2009) features snapshots and ambient noise recordings from 10 different locales around the foreign metropolis. For a musician like Ai, there can hardly be a more poignant evocations of the dislocations to which we sometimes submit ourselves for the sake of a beloved partner or the pursuit of a dream. Her cartoonish painting My 1997 (2012)—which depicts a girl strumming a guitar with a skyscraper and a Chinese junk in the background— evokes Ai’s bewildering experience when, as a popular singer, she found one of her love songs misinterpreted as a political anthem: an error that nearly cost the entertainer her career. Today, some figures in the art world begrudge Ai her wish to enter their professional circle after having already attained success in another field, one that entails pop celebrity.
But Ai is unlikely to be deterred. One of her installations comprises 60 round polished stones—30 of them black, 30 white—that could serve as oversized board pieces for the game of Go, a venerable strategic contest in which players seek to surround and subdue their opponent’s forces. Here love is portrayed as a test of minds and wills, not yin-yang equanimity. I Want (2009), meanwhile, is a grid of 25 painted statements of desire, ranging from the banal (“I want to smoke,” “I want to travel”) to the sentimental (“I want to hold you,” “I want to live with you”) to the sexually rapacious (“I want to suck you,” “I want to eat you”). Each wish is presented in exactly the same matter-of-fact format: plain white letters on a calm blue background. It is as though the facts of life were simply being spelled out before us. These drastically varied impulses exist naturally within us all, and it is up to us to pick and choose the time, place, object, and manner of their expression—something perhaps only love can do without creating catastrophe. For love alone, Ai’s work suggests, is as thoroughly paradoxical as the human heart. It prompts us to act toward selfless ends; it is self-transcendence.
The Spiritual Tangle of Love
Upon entering the 21st century, Chinese art adopts the trends of late 20th century and moves fast forward into diversity. However, initial enthusiasm soon dies away and weariness wins over. People start to sit back and want to see what happens next. The market still causes great excitement and attracts a lot of attention. Yet our attitude toward art is quietly going through changes. We try to compare what happens overnight to what remains constant. We put more thoughts into chance and inevitability. The dignity of awe and esteem has been marginalized into a new form of popular culture or ordinary life. But people are not content. Because of their ideal or professional expectation, people still wish to put art on a pedestal in the temple of society to be worshipped and sustained, or to be put in a meaningful collection so as to become cultural tradition. Like with old masters, we wish to gain a glimpse into the complex foundation and winding path of development of their art. Through cultural links, we wish to regard these works as important addition to art. We think, we search and we let art play its appropriate role in reality.
Artists are plenty. However, one needs wisdom to stand out or even to emerge from obscurity. Ai Jing left Shenyang and entered the art circle when she was 17. The contemporary art world has always been turbulent. Whether in Beijing, New York or Tokyo, in her characteristic ways and in different forms she always expresses her thoughts and ideal and let fly her dreams. With My 1997--a song she wrote and sang--she turned the seemingly relaxed story-telling way of singing into a popular culture. It brought out what lied deep inside her and connected with an important event in mainstream ideology. My 1997 took a personal point of view when it expressed its wish for Hong Kong to revert to China. Its charm lies in its ability to address the big issue when talking about the small ones. Ai Jing’s art works are all closely related to her experience. She has come a long way and her identity keeps changing. Her art is developing and she always tries hard.
As an artist, Ai Jing is full of dreams. Being a female, she is also refined and graceful. Her art is supported by love. She has chosen to work on a topic of which man never gets tired. She dives into it and expands it, changing her languages to incorporate the characteristics of our times. Her love is delicate but not abstruse. She uses the simplest of methods even when dealing with very grand events and, as a result, the effect is real and clear. Her art is conceptual yet she does not try to confuse us with abstract concepts. She has abandoned complex structural relationships and brought us back to clear thinking. Therefore she stands apart from mainstream contemporary art circle. Her thoughts went from “clothing on the back of a wanderer”—fond memory of sweaters her mother made for her, to the countless “threads in loving mother’s hand” throughout time. Using love to reflect basic human ethics, she made My Mum and My Hometown, where collective consciousness is awaken and knitting by mother and other relatives is used to reflect the love of fellow human beings. Here it is unnecessary to discuss love because it is easy to understand. Love does
not need any concepts since it is straightforward and unassuming. This knitting of love might have been complicated since it required much labor. But it is easy for us to see its true meaning.
Not only is her choice of theme significant, her conceptual expression is also unique. It is about love again and this time environmental and survival issues have caught her attention. She looks painfully to a bleak future. The throwaway chopsticks are made of wood and therefore of trees from the forest. Wasting chopsticks is equivalent to killing trees and forest that could lead to destruction of environment. Ai Jing made a big tree with a height of three and a half meters, using tens of thousands of throwaway chopsticks. A black crow perching on the branches is ominous. If The Tree of Life is a knitting of concepts, then the conceptual framework behind Pieces is simpler and more straightforward, just as the board pieces themselves. But here multiple interpretations are allowed and there is more cultural content. It could allude to complex social relations, life and career arrangement, or even war strategies, all of which have starts and ends as in a game of Go. They all need to be planned, dealt with, fought and responded to. The conceptualization of art is as unpredictable as a game of Go, too. Again, Ai Jing successfully tackled a huge and complicated task in her small and simple way.
There are many ways to reach one’s artistic goal. For one thing, there are many materials to choose from. Materials have never been emphasized as much as they are today. There has never been this much variety, either. As a result, we see many things that we never expected before. Ai Jing has a special sensitivity toward materials and this is another one of her characteristics. Throwaway chopsticks, yarn of old sweaters, or hand-forged copper--they all correspond to her theme and are the result of her deliberate choice and careful thinking. The importance to art expression of material is well proved here. There are many cheaper materials to use instead of copper. The 64 pieces could also be molded. But Ai Jing is persistent in her pursuit of refinement. She is not concerned with cost but the best way to achieve perfect artistic effect and psychological comfort that are in line with her concept. The choice of old or new material is also deliberate. The “new” of throwaway chopsticks is warning of problems in reality. The “old” of old sweaters and sweatpants is to remind us of love’s warmth of past years. She must use this material and she will only use this material. It is how she makes her decision. Such refinement is distinct in art.
Ai Jing’s love of art has determined her attitude toward art. She goes through great pains to achieve rapport between concept and material. She spares no effort when creating art works. She uses love to protect art and thus makes her contribution to contemporary Chinese art. Her art has no borders, like her love. We can always expect more from her.
Love Without Limit
Love is plain yet complicated. Love is also common yet profound. Love is a topic that draws artists’ attention. Artists like to work on the topic of love and have left countless works in this genre. Ai Jing’s works bring us something new. In her fresh way she shows us the magic power of love and how love leads to the creation of art.
Many say that Ai Jing’s visual works are the kind that straddles. If fact, art itself straddles. It requires its creator to think like a philosopher, to study like a scientist, to interpret like a man of letters and to have super creativity like an artist. Ai Jing’s talent in music has prepared her for her success in visual art. It seems predestined. Ai Jing has always created art in multiple dimensions. She thus walks freely between music, fine arts and literature and has created works of great diversity.
Ai Jing was keen on painting in the beginning. She was infatuated with order and color. She then tried using sounds, videos and installations to expand her repertoire of artistic expression. Recently Ai Jing no longer focuses on form and no longer experiments for experimentation’s sake. She has moved from integration to integration and from experimentation to conceptualization.
Ai Jing’s concepts are not metaphysical but real. She inquires about love and makes statements on the spiritual level. To her, love could be a language of colors, a structure of intersecting parts, a hard border or a rough touch. Love concerns emotion, feeling, struggle, wish for peace and grief from war. For Ai Jing love is thorough and requires fearless persistence and indifferent calm. She has abandoned territorial rules and formats of art. Instead, she has developed her own path and made her own rules.
Ai Jing has chosen the National Museum to hold her first major exhibition so as to show her works in its entirety. Ai Jing wants us to see in an integrated way the dimensions of her thoughts and her methodology of artistic diversity. Some of her works reflect thoughts that occupy her mind, such as Sound of New York, which concerns love and is quite experimental. She recorded sounds from the highest and lowest points of New York City and tries to reveal life’s pain and joy. Here she makes it possible to mix visual and sound elements while at the same time allow them to keep their independence. It manifests contemporary artists’ ability to integrate. Guns and Roses is a continuation of her interest in the topic of love and in graphic art, a piece “closer to my music work My1997”. But here her intention is more of “using familiar historical events, time and figures as elements to redefine the significance of an event from an individual’s point of view”. So she uses video images and cultural symbols in great quantity, and writes “Love” again and again to “recreate” and to “give new meaning to old works”.
In this exhibition we see that Ai Jing is becoming more and more interested in installation art. She does not believe art needs to be limited by its media, just as she does not care whether you call her a musician or a painter. When creating art she strives for freedom—to be constrained by nothing and let imagination fly. Installation art makes strong conceptual statement and claims a large space, therefore induces creativity.
Wave and Flowers behind Every Door mark the breadth of her spiritual resources. The inspiration for Wave has come from the Japanese ukiyo-e painter Katsushika Hokusai. However, classical works in traditional style are only an inspiration for her, nothing more. She is not preoccupied with paying homage to tradition. She is more interested in putting in her own thinking and transforming tradition into a totem of self-realization. Ai Jing said Wave is “more of a description of state of mind”, and is a realm of images “neither realistic nor abstract”. If Wave concerns more with Eastern cultural essence, then Flowers behind Every Door is more of a mixture of multi-cultural elements. It shows the blending and co-existence of cultures. Ai Jing used old doors from China, Indonesia and continental Europe to show the different sources of culture and to shed light on the complex relation between our past and our present. She tries to find the common ground between cultures and to see how different cultures can identify with each other.
To me, Tree of Life and Board Pieces are about the extension of “love”. Tree of Life generalizes “love” to concerns for our environment: “Contemporary China is moving forward at an astonishing speed, yet we are sad to see its disastrous effect on our environment, something well worth our reflection.” Go is a Chinese board game and Board Pieces uses the game’s form to reflect on complex historical and cultural patterns. One sees here artist’s wish for peace and harmony—also a humanist concern. Both works are noted for their inclusiveness and openness. Ai Jing wishes to engage her audience—to walk into their hearts in order to arouse their kind wishes and to bring out their imagination.
My Mum and My Hometown is a praise of simple and sincere love. She leads us back into her distant memory and makes us share her precious moments. For such an end, she has chosen the means of “knitting” to talk about love. Old yarn is no longer old yarn. They are gentle and warm. “Knitting” is no longer meaningless handcraft, but a mother’s labor that records the pass of time and our growth. The long piece of “knitting” also hints at love’s being without limit. Love is forever valuable and art will never stop examining love.
To The World, With Love
To say that this exhibition is filled to the brim with love would be a vast understatement. Artist Ai Jing, in this major retrospective of her art work, delivers love in myriad ways, always putting it front and center in each piece that she creates in a mighty gesture towards her fans, her family and ultimately our shared world. Whether she ponders the forces of nature, the import of play, or the power of relationships dear to one's soul, Ai Jing always approaches her work--and her world--with open arms, an addictive smile and a heart that rivals the vastness of her home nation, China.
In this solo show, Ai Jing presents prime examples of her paintings, sculptures, video works, installations and even sound pieces made over the past two decades, from very early paintings to new installations, which once combined continue to harness Ai Jing's love into a fully unified exhibition. As a friend of the artist for the past eight years, I have watched her passion for the art world grow in leaps and bounds, as I have seen her work grow from early folk art-style paintings through to recent works which rival the best that China has to offer today. Of course, we must remember that Ai Jing began her career as a folk pop singer, and she has since grown into a fully matured contemporary artist, in essence straddling the worlds of music and art. Just as she poured her heart into her music career, so too does she give her utmost in the production of her art work, steeped as it is in issues of memory, happiness, game play, and, yes, even loss.
For, when one addresses the universally shared topic of love, one must do so across all spectrums, from the exhilaratingly exploding love of an intense relationship through to the lowest rungs of sadness brought about by its demise. Of course, we have all experienced the highs and lows of love, and we can safely say that it is one of the constants in life that defines each and very one of us. Ai Jing plugs into this core nerve of humanity, allowing her work to transcend cultures and be relevant and approachable to visitors to her exhibitions. As such, we as viewers can empathize quickly with her work, and as we travel through the exhibition, we ride Ai Jing's roller coaster of love along with her, projecting our own memories, experiences and histories onto the work, making it personal, making it pure.
As visitors pass by Ai Jing's canvases awash with the word LOVE from top to bottom, left to right, and as they traipse past flying pigs and rippling waves, a warm feeling no doubt washes over them, urging them to smile in the basking glow of the artist's warm color palette and whimsical subject matter. As they enter other parts of the exhibition, they will encounter a large crashing wave sculpture, a large tree of life and other works that nod to Ai Jing's love of nature, and certainly her respect for it. Later, they will enter a gallery with dozens of large Go chess game pieces in black and white which might take them think they have stumbled into the midst of a game in mid-play. In addition to these works, visitors will also encounter numerous historic doors, no doubt best views as portals to the soul. They will even encounter cassette tapes hung on the wall, in a sound installation that focuses on New York City, a place dear to Ai Jing, and her home for many years. In all of the works included in the show, visitors will be able to relate to and commiserate with Ai Jing, and hopefully will walk away with a smile on their face and a knowledge in their soul that love, in all of its forms, is something that we can all hold and strive for in our lives.
And that is the very thing that propels Ai Jing in her art-making. She always endeavors to create works that plug into our shared psyche, regardless of our citizenship, race, sex or marital status. She throws out the topic of love to us, forcing us to relate to it and to determine our stance towards it. Of course, depending on our own relationship status that day, each of us will respond differently, ranging from full-tilt excitement through to a certain bit of sadness. Ai Jing delivers all aspects of love to us, knowing full well that each of us has shared her own ups and downs with love. As such, she escorts us on a carnival ride called The Tunnel of Love, a place where we can be ourselves in the darkness cuddling with the one we love.
Ultimately, each of us longs for love to fulfill us, guide us and propel us forward into the future. Many of us also rely on the power of art to do these very same things: to nourish us, to make us ponder life, come to terms with it, and move forward. Ai Jing seamlessly. Combines the two, giving us a body of work that makes love into art, and in turn, art into love. In essence, she is "making love" outright, yet not in the direct carnal way that the term connotes. For her, making love is making art, pure and simple. And certainly, the idea of being with the one we love can be just as creative and fun-filled as being surrounded with the images that we desire and covet. By combining the two, Ai Jing successfully delivers up a new way of understanding art, love and the world around us. It is a most wonderful place, just as she is a most wonderful artist.