一切皆流: C*SPACE transformation during lockdown

Published July 2020
Location Berlin

“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: