*Nikki Schiro is the first foreign artist to have an solo exhibition in Chengdu, China.
Reaching the Peak like Ascending to Mount Kilimanjaro
In the last century, there was a joke like this: If a man is crushed by an object falling down from a high-rise building in New York, the man must be an artist. More than that, the fallen object may be a bottle falling down due to an artist’s careless loosening his grip, or a painting tool thrown out of the window by him in resentment of his mediocrity. In short, there are innumerable artists in New York.
Although it is not easy to live in the “Big Apple”, artists are reluctant to leave New York like other New Yorkers. That is because New York in their heart is the center of the world and other places are “Out-of-States”. The places outside those are probably untamed wildness. The advantage of this point of view is that the world growing smaller is still big in New Yorkers’ eyes because of their unconcern and strangeness for the outside world. That reminds me of the interesting age about twenty years ago when it took at least one month to write and receive a family letter between China and America.
Nikki is brave enough to leave New York and come to the “Highland”. She becomes a resident artist in a village of China which has nothing to do with art in people’s eyes. The mosquitoes in large groups, the scene of killing the chickens and ducks in the market, the tobacco leaves curling like Cuban cigars and villagers’ marriage and funeral banquets, all of these show that it is not New York. With an attitude of a post-colonial intruder, Nikki treats things she sees naturally from the standpoint of suzerain culture. With novelty, imagination and misreading, she has produced works excitedly and effectively. She ascends to Kilimanjaro of imaginary and metaphor in the planned cultural adventure.
There is a well-known saying that “The world is a book, to those who do not travel read only one page of it.” I willingly believe that Nikki’s travel in China is a new page of the book for her and will stimulate her to read more pages.
2010.10.21 in Chengdu Highland
尽管生活在那个“大苹果”里并不容易，但是纽约艺术家和其他纽约人一样一般不愿意离开纽约，因为在他们心里纽约是世界的中心，别的地方是“外州”、“外 州”之外恐怕就是蛮荒之地了。这种心态的好处是由于对外界的不关心和陌生这个日益变小的世界在纽约人心中仍然很大，这使我想起二十几年前中美两地一封家书 的往返最少一个月的有趣年代。
Nikki是个勇敢的人，敢于走出纽约来到“高地”，在这个世人看来与艺术无关的中国乡村作驻留艺术家。成群结队前赴后继的蚊子、赶集时活杀鸡鸭的场景、 能卷得像古巴雪茄一样的土烟叶、村民的婚丧酒席都表明这里不是纽约。报以后殖民式闯入者的心态，Nikki自然地从宗主文化的立场好奇的看待眼前的事物， 会同猎奇、想象和误读她亢奋而高效地生产作品，在这次有预谋的文化探险中登上了假想和隐喻的乞力马扎罗。
有英文名言说：The world is a book, to those who do not travel read only one page of it (世界是一本书，对那些不愿旅行的人来说仅仅读了其中一页)。我个人愿意相信Nikki的中国之行对她来讲是翻开了这本书新的一页并会激发她不断阅读新的 篇幅。