In this latest addition to UCCA's "Curated by..." series, acclaimed sculptor Sui Jianguo guides former student Lu Zhengyuan through an ambitious attempt to create 84 unique works of art in 84 days. There are no restrictions on the form, content, or media used, only that the artist himself considers each piece to be a work of art. Each work will be conceived, executed and delivered to UCCA in the course of a single day.
For this reason, the exhibition will be constantly evolving. No one – neither the artist nor the curator nor us – knows exactly how it will change each day, or what it will look like in the end.
84 Days, 84 Works combines deadlines, production, creativity andunpredictability to test the ingenuity of one of China's up-and-coming young artists.
- Jérôme Sans, UCCA Director
It was 11:46 pm in New York on October 16, 2010, when I received a text message from artist Lu Zhengyuan saying that he had just started work on a new project for UCCA, for which his goal was to create 84 works of art in 84 days.
The project would involve two stages: from October 17-November 17, the artist would produce one new work per day, so that when the exhibition opened on Nov. 17, it would include 31 artworks. After that, he would continue his "one-work-a-day" schedule until the exhibition closed on January 9, 2011, with 84 works in total.
84 Days, 84 Works grew out of a project Lu Zhengyuan and I developed several years ago when he was a student of mine at CAFA. This exhibition promises to be an intensely exciting period for him, both intellectually and artistically. He seems to enjoy the stimulus of this sort of challenge, and the excitement of sharing it with UCCA visitors. During his 84 days here, he will also record his progress by blogging about his creations and daily experiences.
When he sent his text message from Beijing, it was midday his time on October 17. On the other side of the globe, at Cornell University in New York, it was still October 16, and there were stars in my sky. I knew that eventually the earth's rotation would bring morning to New York, and evening to Beijing.
It occurred to me that if you calculated time as a function of distance, then every time the earth rotated on its axis, my former student would have finished one new work of art. And by the time he completed all 84 works, our planet would have travelled approximately 230 million kilometers on its orbit around the sun. While an artist working every day with an unchanging deadline might appear to be standing still, he or she is in fact hurtling through the universe at a dizzying speed.
— Sui Jianguo, Guest Curator
October 16th, 2010, Cornell University
Produce a work of art a day. Put no restrictions on the creative process. Any work is okay, as long as I consider it art. I first tried this method when I was studying at CAFA with Professor Sui Jianguo. After making 100 works in 100 days, I wanted to keep going because I felt there was a lot more to learn. Having a creative process that
combines deadlines, continuity and flexibility is a good way to stumble on new ideas. It also raises a lot of questions: if anything can be made into art, what does that make art? How do you rebel against systems and traditions? What happens to individual identity and values when information is global and everything is converging? How do I find the real me? What does art provide? What uncertainties and leaps does it require? What's the source of inspiration, and can it ever run dry? Can art be laid bare? How do I deal with disappointing or failed artworks? Is art essential to life? How do I shake off my inertia and move forward? How can I use my imagination to make life and art more appealing?
— Lu Zhengyuan