• AN ART AND SEVEN ARTISTS - Painting Exhibition
  • Artist: Cao Yingbin, Han Dong, Li Jie, Li Dongyuan, Sylvie Denet, Wu Yuntie, Zhang Jijun
  • Critic: Chen Haiyan
  • Opening: 2013. 07. 20 / 16:00 - 18:00
  • Duration: 2013.07. 20 - 2013. 09.13 / 10:00 - 18:00
  • Address: ANART. 2F, Building 13, M50, Shanghai.
One and Seven
Essay: Chen Haiyan

‘One and Seven’ is not pioneering work of ‘ANART’, nor out of a sudden impulse. There are many versions of stories about ‘One and Seven’. One story says that one cinema had slack business. The boss put up a poster saying: ‘a story of one woman and seven men’. The cinema was filled. As the curtain up, the play was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The audience was struck dumb; on next day, the poster was put up again saying: ‘a story of one woman and seven men’. The cinema was filled. The play was Eight Immortals Crossing the Sea. The audience was struck dumb; on next day, the poster was put up saying: ‘a story of one woman and seven men’. The cinema was filled. The play was Calabash Brothers. The audience was struck dumb; on next day, the poster was put up again saying: ‘a story of one woman and seven men’. The cinema was filled again. The play was The Deer and the Cauldron. The audience was struck dumb. 

No matter what modern marketing methods it uses, e.g. hunger marketing, viral marketing and word of mouth marketing or Headline Party and Fifty Cent Party, this is the true wild jungle to deal with the naked relationship of numbers. There is no fixed method. Everyone can choose different way. In 1984, Zhang Yimou was only the cinematographer of One and Eight when he’s young and inexperienced. And now he is full-fledged as the father of Hero. Zhang Yimou himself directs and acts a real-life One and Eight for the fact that he has many illegal children. This is also the jungle-- the society. There is no fixed law. He does this and you can do that. It was normal to have forty-nine children for a man in ancient times.

Excluding the combinations of one and seven, only the number seven has many stories. Seven is a mysterious number in religion. Genesis Chapter two says that on the seventh day, God finished his creation of the world and rested. Thus we have the idea of week. Then the LORD God formed a man Adam with the dust of the ground, and took the seventh rib of Adam to make a woman Eve. Since then, men and woman love and fight all their lives. After the week of creation, the seven-head fire dragon Satan led seven fallen angels to rally together against God, playing the Seven Deadly Sins - Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Envy, Pride, Lust and Wrath, opposite to the Seven Holy Virtues – Humility, Meekness, Charity, Chastity, Moderation, Zeal and Generosity. 

It happens that there is a similar case. Seven is also a magical number in China, related with the creation of world beside ‘Qi Ti’, ‘Qi Lue’, ‘Qi Lu’(an eight-line Chinese poem with seven characters to a line) and ‘Qi Jue’(a four-line poem with seven characters to a line). One chapter of Zhuang Zi mentions ‘seven orifices’. Chinese people regard ‘seven’ with awe: the Seven Emotions (joy, anger, worry, anxiety, grief, fear and panic), Seven Sufferings (life sufferings in the Buddhist Scriptures: being born, aging, illness, death, duhkha, suffering as farewell to the beloved and suffering as pursuing devotionally for somebody yet keeping out of reach for ever), Seven Pitches (do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, si), Seven Colors (red, orange, yellow, green, indigo, blue, purple), Seven Luminaries (Sun, Moon, Venus, , Jupiter, Mercury, Mars, Saturn), Seven Gems (gold, silver, lapis lazuli, tridacna, carnelian, pearl, rose), Seven reasons to divorce one’s wife in old times (fails to bear a son, vulgar or adulterous, lacks filial piety towards her parents-in-law, gossipy, commits theft, jealous, vile disease), the seventieth birthday, the Seven Warring States, Seven Sages … Even doing the sevenths for the intermediate existence between death and reincarnation takes 49 days. 

There is the Big Dipper in heaven. On the earth, those scholar groups with great talents and virtues character are always concluded by the number seven. For example, Seven Scholars of Jian’an, Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove, Seven Bel-esprits of early Ming Dynasty, the Later Seven Masters in the middle of Ming Dynasty (Jia Jing). However, the ‘seven’ in this ANART group exhibition refers to seven masters of unique skills: Cao Yingbin plays a big knife to catch little ghost; Han Dong practices meditation and realizes the truth, painting as a buddist pracitice; Li Jie feels at ease in vegetable greenhouse, doing needlework skillfully; Li Dongyuan, a known intearal designer, conducts painting like brushing the wall; Sylvie Denet combines the ancient and modern through video, photography and painting; Wu Yuntie builds a heaven on earth among clouds and fogs; Zhang Jijun uses the painting brush like carving knife. The title ‘One and Seven’ is a coincidence of the number seven, not the deliberately mystified story between man and woman at the beginning of the article, but a story between art and people. 
Translation: Fan Chen
翻 译:范 晨