Artist: Chen Qi
Notations of Time-A Place without Whence or Whither*

Installation+ Video, 8.6x8x3.5meter
2010 Shen Zhen International Print Art Biennale
*Diamond Sutra: [Tathagata] has neither whence nor whither

Artist Chen Qi began creating the Notations of Time art project in 2010. This project was inspired when the artist saw worm-eaten Ming Dynasty books in the library of the European Woodcut Foundation in London, and started as water-based printmaking, handmade books and wood carvings, eventually developing into installation art. The abstract ink-colored worm forms on the Chinese rice paper, and the shifting shapes of the holes through time as the pages turn, have been fused together in the installation titled Notations of Time-A Place without Whence or Whither, forming an indivisible, illusory whole with radiant imagery and shifting space-time, brimming with poeticism and deep thought. In his contemporary meditations on existence nested in classical culture and literati traditions, Chen Qi has continued his spiritual quest that he began in the 1980s.

The hourglass is tipped over, the sundial is broken
Borges' library is buried in crystal mirrors;
in the sky above the labyrinth of time, the light's diamond crown is cut open,
and the silkworms of civilization burn in flames of ice.

In 1942, in an empty winter church in England*,
the poet's prophesy was revealed by an amnesiac;
on the Ming Dynasty stone steps before the Temple of Enlightenment,
the Zen master returned his dust to dust.

Light passes like years; watching the clouds rise like flying cranes,
and the Lotus Pagoda of the present collapses in eternity;
those who arrive here will eventually leave,
destined to forget the spell of life on their path.

-By Tony Chang, 2011-5-7

* LITTLE GIDDING, No. 4 of 'Four Quartets' by T.S. Eliot "...But this is the nearest, in place and time, Now and in England."