Free Coals, 2021. 

installation, performance.
Coal. balloon. plastic bag. fishing line, helim.

Free Coals这个作品,缘于几年前的冬天我父亲的一段经历。 父亲一个住平房的朋友从父亲的单位拉走了约700斤煤,那个朋友家里有老人,需要烧煤取暖熬过严冬。然而父亲因此被人诬陷让人私下运走了三吨煤,让他险些丢了做了四十年的工作。当时他面对的选择有两个,一是把诬陷他的人告上法庭死磕到底,但一定会丢了工作和退休金。二是承认真的拿了公家的三吨煤,写检讨,交罚款,向一切人道歉。父亲做了很长时间的决定,在大家的劝说之后,选择了向诬陷他的人道歉。 这件事就像是一个草草画下的标点,像一些其他发生过的事情一样,小心翼翼地不被再提起。


质进入到我们日常呼吸的空气之中,最终变成无法区分的某种广泛的存在。 这种状态,可以说是我对于故乡的一个切片式的感受:一些很难细细梳理清楚的感情,亲情,人情,友情,面子,很多东西缠绕在一起,一个关于自身的决定不再仅仅影响自身,便形成了一种称为集体命运的存在。

This work Free Coals was inspired by my father’s experience in the winter a few years ago. A friend of my father who lives in a bungalow took away three bags of coal from his father's workplace. That friend had an elderly person at home, and it was too cold for the family to survive the winter. However, someone reported my father to the authority that he gave away three tons of coal in private. He almost lost his job that he has been doing for forty years. At that time, he faced two choices. One was to take the person who framed him to court for justice, but he would definitely lose his job and pension. The other way is to admit that he took three tons of coal from the government, write a reflection, pay the fine, and apologize. My father made a long decision and finally chose the second one. We have not talked about this incident anymore since then. This incident is like a hastily drawn punctuation. People were carefully enough to not mention it again, just like some other things that have happened.
In the Free Coals project, the coal on the ground weighs 700kg, taking up less than one cubic meter of space, while the other 2300kg of coal that has never existed in reality is represented by a black balloon of the same volume. The coal has a firm texture while the helium balloon is almost weightless. They are taking two different journeys: the coal will be burned and turned into heat; a helium balloon is deflated after 1 to 2 days since the helium escapes. They both have soemthing that will become a part of the air we breathe in every day. These two substances eventually become an existence that we cannot distinguish. Such state can represent some of my feelings about my hometown in Northeast China: some feelings that can be very difficult to sort out, family relationship, Guanxi (connection), friendship, and face. Many things are intertwined together. A decision one made about oneself does no longer just influence oneself. There is something called a collective destiny.