Untitled Sculpture, 2017
Our work is two signs placed at the beginning and end of the sculpture path. They have the same content – a poem by the modernist Chinese Poet; Gu Cheng. This short verse titled ‘A Generation’ was published in the collection Black Eyes in 1987. It captures a personal sense of unease stemming, in part from a difficult relationship to a culture in state of change.
黑 夜 给 了 我 黑 色 的 眼 睛
我 却 用 它 寻 找 光 明
Dark night gives me dark eyes
And I use them to search for light
Having been found fame as a member of the menglong or misty poets, Gu Cheng emigrated to New Zealand with his wife, Xie Ye, and settled in Rocky Bay in the late nineteen eighties. In 1993 Gu Cheng murdered his wife and hanged himself. Our work is a small intervention, which seeks to remember this traveller to Waiheke and a time when the island was home to one of China’s most famous poets in exile. The circumstances of the couple’s death of without doubt colour the sense of their time in New Zealand but we are also interested in the idea of these people, carrying their culture and the effects of their upbringing in a time of tumult, so far from home. As a consequence of their choice live in Waiheke, the island is significant for another audience that is perhaps not known to the wider public- those students of Chinese literature making a pilgrimage to the island. To the artists, this offers an example of an unknown public.