A trap is a metaphor for people who have been ensnared by trickery. Adopting various disguises, it renders one unable to clearly understand the reality of the situation, and our adversary has complete control as we sink further into the trap. The Han History of Food and Commodities records: “county law leads the people, causing them to fall into its trap.” In the Qing dynasty Blind Man Says, Dai Mingshi stated: “But all too often, one aimlessly stumbles, nearly unconscious and suddenly steps into the net of the trapper.”
We are quite familiar with words that approach “trap” in meaning, such as “chains” or “shackles”, which we view as the material object of our spiritual enemy. The difference between the two lies in the fac that chains are visible, while traps are invisible. A heavy wooden yoke or iron chains, clearly reveal their identity and can be smashed with a hammer or melted down with flames to achieve “liberatation”. Traps, however, are entirely different. A trap has never existed upon which the word “trap” was clearly written for all to see. Traps appear where and when we least expect them, going in for the kill when we believe we are at our safest, falling victim on the turf with which we are most familiar. It is like, as if tempered by hundreds upon thousands of antibiotics, an endlessly spreading and reproducing super germ was incubating by our side. Traps are “human nature”, the flaw in the clear understanding of human nature, the sought-after weakspot; the trap is intellegence, following increased cognitive abilities and magically transforming at any moment. What’s most terrifyig is its intangiablity and corrosive quality, leading you to sink deeper and deeper in entirely unconciously, or when thinking you have carefully avoided a trap, fumbling around with two hands and inadvertantly digging yourself a new trap.
We are surrounded by precisely these sorts of trap: While the flag of stable and glorious harmonious society is held high, false economic prosperity creates a sense of contentment; the land beneath our feet is like a bubble, capable of bursting at any moment and leaving us tumbling downward; the mass-media puts on a the appearance of good-will but only truly serves for its own objectives. When our spirits indulge in the surface level satisfaction of the body, they become corrupted; true intentions are hidden behind hypocritical smiles…
All these sorts of traps: societal, cultural, economic, linguistic, informational, all human nature and impossible to fend off. When we are inattentive, entirely without preparation or ability to resist, we fall under its control. Just as is recorded in the Golden Mean from the Book of Rites, "People all believe themselves to be quite clever, but once driven to a trap, they don't know how to avoid."
The participating artists, Wang Du, Lin Yilin, Sun Yuan & Peng Yu, Hung-Chih Peng, Liu Wei, Li Hui, Cheng-Ta Yu and Zhu Jia, each use their own methods to comment upon the trap: directly displaying the unavoidability of failing into it; using irony and jesting behavior dispel it; exploring the cultural language which produces it; or manufacturing visual splendor and beauty to numb the viewer’s mind. Whether they are criticizing, sneering, joking, playing or banishing, not one goes without alerting us: we are all personally on the brink of one trap or another, and could it be that we’ve already fallen in but the majority of us are entirely unaware of it?