VacanzaProject_Ruobing /Beauty/



Wang Ruo Bing


Wang Ruo Bing (this is her internet web site), Robin for all the inhabitants of Toffia, was the young veteran of the group of seven Chinese artists who created the Vacanza project. It was she to mediate and curate the exhibition on the basis of her first experience in Sabina, in may 2008, during 20eventi; was she, therefore, to contact her chinese friends and involve them for an Italian holiday.

Wang Ruo Bing - Perfect Forest, 2005
Wang Ruo Bing - Perfect Forest, 2005

Perfect Forest, 2008
Wang Ruo Bing - Perfect Forest, 2008 (may)


What remained, in Robin, after her first Italian trip? What has driven her to seek a new opportunity to return to re-make a work in Toffia? Which aspects would she rediscover and which, instead, change from the first experience?

Perfect Forest, 2008 (dettaglio)
Perfect Forest, 2008 (detail)

What has probably in Ruo Bing remained is the memory of a spring experience. Probably, coming into contact with it, she was in turn touched by the  Sabina’s nature  and the people, so indissolubly (apparently) linked to those places. The artist has not worked in archaeological ways, she has not sought the charm of ruins or exotic curiosities. Rather ethnographically, perhaps, has she carried out a virgin but conscious exploration of these places, in which she has so warmly welcomed and that, with Beauty, she wanted to pay tribute too.

The experience of May 2008 (the first one, that preceded Beauty of three months or so), although gave the incipit, but has certainly left a certain emptiness, a  sense  of vacanza (vacanza means, in italian, mainly holiday, but also something like emptyness, something missing) in Ruo Bing.

On the one hand beacause of the oppression of a lush (and difficult to control) environment , on the other hand because of a congenital lack of freedom when it is a collective event as 20eventi, Wang Ruobing felt this responsibility to come back to the same environment to face that emptiness that seemed to been left (inside? outside?).

As we are taught by psychoanalysis, the obsession should not be ignored, and fears must be addressed. But in our case it is not to fill the empty  mental speces with some meanings that even remain. It is the courage to return and share the experience of emptiness that unite us; it’s the courage to share it without trying to force it looking for a meaning.

For this reason, Ruo Bing contacted his friends and made sure they can manage their own experience. Only then Ruo Bing could choose collaborations and goals from his vacation. No longer an organized trip, but a genuine artistic adventure to the borders of a different culture, peasant, rural, so tied to the land and the rhythms of the seasons. A land so far away, but so close to an artist who inhabits the world, perhaps a strange place, but that still arouses the same poetics of respect for the secrets of Earth and its inviolability.

The artist statement:

Beauty deals with different yet common perceptions of our universe/nature. It explores the various ways that we, both the Easterner and Westerner, attempt to rationalise or even fictionalise the modern environment by transmuting raw material such as bird, marble and plant, and integrating commercial materials such as plastic and Coca Cola bottles into a beauty which suits our philosophy. The philosophy of beauty in such everyday items, borrowing Keith Thomas’s words, is “breathtakingly anthropocentric” (Thomas Keith, Man and the natural world. A history of the modern sensibility, New York, 1983, p. 18)

Io, Sai e Ruobing attorno all'opera di Ruobing - Beauty
Io, Sai e Ruobing attorno a Bauty

The vague and the engagément

Yes.. we can surely not say that her first Italian experience is ended with nothing (and  I do not even wanted to say that, although it seemed to be the opposite). Indeed, May is still the initial seed and Ruo Bing keep from this experience not only material and information that would have then reuse fro Beauty in a few months later, but  she has also acquired and could reprocess a stimulating sense of incompleteness. An exciting sense of incompleteness, that pervades the entire project, and explains further the acquisition of a title such Vacanza (Holiday).

The vagueness of this feeling (incompleteness) put together the scenarios proposed by the artist and the dreams. The first Italian experience was, in fact, the inspiration for the work (Beauty, in august) as – I would say – a dream that continues  to be in your head all day (or as a mnemonic traces of the day which is stirring in the dream?) .

By that way, this sense of vagueness, of vacanza,  (like in Giacomo Leopardi) become beauty.

Emanuele Sbardella che si immegre nell'opera di Ruobing

Kant e Duchamp

Beauty? You just used the word beauty? Do you realize – could tell the reader- that contemporary art has divorced, with Duchamp, from the retinal art and the taste?!

But I go back, and talk about beauty, and I use even Kant, the dusty philosopher of absolute beauty, dishonored since generations from now …
BBut do not go now, oh ungrateful reader: listening to my reasons!

First, I could ‘exculpate’ saying that it is not my fault if the artist wanted to call her work Beauty. But I’ll not do it, because nothing could justify me in the use of Kant’s texts.
So, we can momentarily accept that I am failing, and that I’m in a position of having to earn the losted credibility .

Let’s start with this question: what’s universal in Kant’s beauty?

The fact that we recognize ourself as men belonging to a community that can appreciate, more than any difference, a pleasant feeling. The esthetical judgemetn  is not purely subjectiv but is based on a communicating subjectivity (term used by both Fazio-Allmayer both Negri, compared to the kantian Critique). Communicating subjectiviy, that is not based on the concepts, but on feelings.

The community is therefore able to rediscover itself as com-unity,  around an object judged beautiful. In this beauty there is nothing unattainable and elitist.

Wang Ruo Bing - Beauty, 2008 (particolare)
Wang Ruo Bing - Beauty, 2008 (particolare)

Artists like the american Andy Warhol don’t stop their work  to the admiration of the goods as common objects. Even films like American Beauty can represents the pars construens of the new mythology of what is common and public.

The extraordinary strength of Ruo Bing’s work is making universal that sense of beauty that was manifested with great strength (for example in Warol and American Beauty) , but colely linked to the capitalistici western ephos. She was able to do so playing the rule of the human being who walks the world, drawing alternative (although not opposed) trajectories to capital flows and tourism traffic.

Emanuele Sbardella che si immegre nell'opera di Ruobing


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