“Staying open while not opened“ became our credo in March, when Berlin went into corona lockdown. This worked out in unexpected ways, when two artists from Beijing stranded at C*SPACE.
Calligrapher Qian Geng, who goes by the artist name “The 8 Immortals” and founder of the design studio “Three Monkeys”, and Wang Ziheng, experimental musician, had been on their first tour to Germany, which was curated by Adam Langer of Agency &. Initially, they were invited as speakers for a talk on “Sound, Type and the City” in the course of our CITYMAKERS-Salon series.
But when in March the corona situation in Europe quickly deteriorated, public events were cancelled. So instead of perfoming before audiences, Qian Geng and Wang Ziheng created a live video perfomance together with avantgarde-noise artist Anton Kaun. Then all flights to China were suspended. Suddenly, Qian Geng and Wang Ziheng found themselves being stranded in Berlin.
The new and freshly renovated C*SPACE rooms on the 3rd floor became a temporary shelter for the two artists. Next, something happenend that no one could have anticipated: During the artist’s unscheduled stay, the space went through a spectacular metamorphosis from unopened blank space to deep reflection retreat, to living-in-isolation-studio, to intense creative work atelier, and finally to a powerful manifestation of the richness of Chinese ancient philosophy as much as of an individualistic calligraphic piece of art.
While Wang Ziheng created soundscapes from self-built instruments and saxophone, Qian Geng painted the atelier space’s walls. He started with a reference to the „Thousand Character Classic“, a poem used as a primer for teaching Chinese to children, and condensed the original 1000 into 250 characters. The remaining three walls are an expression of his own points of views, a free flow of spontaneous thoughts sometimes interwoven with poems from Taoist and Buddhist philosophy, standing out as inspirational metaphors, such as:
“一切皆流 Yīqiè jiē liú Everything Flows
地狱dìyù 花 – you can be below (or in hell) and still see the flower on the surface.”
Behind the Scenes
How did the artists experience their special lockdown situation at C*SPACE in Berlin? Listen to their message here:
Listen to curator Adam Langer’s reflections of the value of cultural exchange and human encounters across borders in times of crisis:
Time for Self & Togetherness
Qian Geng and Wang Ziheng are now back in China. But their spirit and energy is fully with us here at C*SPACE, embodied by their powerful and breathtaking calligraphic art work. We thank them for the energy and bliss they brought to the space!
Learn more about their art here: