Pan Xing-lei | Imitating the Bei Wei Buddha


CrossPathCulture (CPC) presents "Imitating the Bei Wei Buddha," a new performance piece by Pan Xing-Lei (China) in conjunction with our fall 2001 exhibition and dialogue series Identities.
The imagery of distorted, flailing bodies seen in Chinese performance artist Pan Xing-Lei’s “Imitating the Bei Wei Buddha” was compelled by his participation in the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations. The prototype, created by him and five other sculpture students, is called “The Goddess of Democracy.”
Xing-Lei’s piece is a menagerie of body forms in two and three dimensions. Bathed in an undulating red light, spineless figures made of cloth-like latex float in eerily stagnant gestures. Stunning, two-dimensional renditions of this form hang on the walls. The installation exists as a shrine to self-representation, employing varying postures of essentially the same resonating figure. The repetition of one form addresses the artist’s multi-cultural experience; Though brought up and schooled in China, Lei identifies himself with Hong Kong, where his father originates.
As a contrast to the frenzy of multiple forms, the piece incorporates a performance aspect in the form of Pan Xei-Ling himself. The artist sits in the meditative pose of the Bei Wei Buddha, immediately dispelling a calming effect upon the writhing figures surrounding him. The presence of a self-contained human body seems to summon a tranquility out of the violence of a fragmented identity.
Pan Xing-Lei has had many solo shows and performances and has been part of important group outings in China, Hong Kong, Germany and the USA. Particularly significant items include the traveling exhibition: “Inside Out - New Chinese Art,” and the March 2001 article about the artist entitled “Camouflaged Revolutionary.”