Monday, October 16, 2017

Caught—Artists Rep—SW Portland

Down the Rabbit Hole

This event features the dissident, activist, Chinese artist, Lin Bo.
  It should be noted that there a great many people responsible for bringing Lin Bo and his  artistic concepts here, including Artists Rep, Dmae Roberts, Chris Harder, Sara Hennessy, Greg Watanabe, Shawn Lee, Christopher Chen, Horatio Law, the Geezer Gallery, et. al.  It is playing at their space, SW Alder St. and 16th Ave., through October 29th.  For more information, go to their site at or call 503-241-1278.

The meaning of “Caught (Qin),” one of his most famous pieces is, in part, according to Bo, “…represents the tension between the West—where there is a willing participation in compelling rapacity—and China, where there is a compulsory nullification of the individual.”  His Art and presentation focuses on this seeming disappearance of individuality, which is highly sought after in our country, but seems to have been stifled in his country.  I was particularly moved by the Zen garden, interactive piece, of white sand, representing the Tiananmen Square massacre, in which one can rake over it but never erase the blood stains of what happened there.

Bo presents his story of captivity for two years, complete with beatings, torture, minimal living conditions, etc., all for creating a piece of art.  Or so we are told.  With the weaving in and out of truth with this show, we can justifiably complain, I believe, that we may be slipping down the “rabbit hole,” in which “We, the People…”concept of our world is disappearing and the country is being ruled by an elite few.  Shame of Us!  Bo could (and does) present his reflections of this kind of era under Mao’s rule.  And, of course, propaganda, a conspiracy of lies to convince one the “truth” of a government policy/law that may or may not actually exist, plays a large part in our perceptions of our limited world, let alone others…another “rabbit hole.”

Yes, I’m spending some time on intellectual/psychological/philosophical stuff because a lot of what Bo is proposing/exposing is the layers within layers of Truth and our human understanding of it.  Are we like lemmings and simply follow over a cliff others that jump?  Or, are we an individual that steadfastly will stand by his precepts no matter what?  And, if that is true, what about the individual next to you, or across the seas, that have different viewpoints?  Are they wrong and we right, or vice-versa?  And, if so, do we/they have the right to impose our will on others?  And, to make it even more complicated, do we really know who we are in our hearts of hearts?  We behave differently with friends, with our co-workers, with our special someone, with strangers, etc., so which one of those many choices is the real…Me?!

The Bard may have hinted at this in his own way, which goes something like this, all the world’s a stage, and men and women, merely players, who have their exits and entrances, and each person, in his time, plays many parts.  Another thought, the late Lee Marvin, told me on the movie set of “Paint Your Wagon” (I was a featured extra in it), when I remarked to him of how authentic he seemed as a villain on screen.  He told me, you never play a character as a bad guy, you always play him as if he’s right and the rest of the world is wrong.  Something to think about.

This is an event that must be seen, experienced, rather than giving a blow by blow description of the “story.”  It is something to view, listen to and think about.  It is a peeling away, like an onion, at the layers of the “windmills of your mind.”  It is about specific lies we may hold dear and the elusive truths that may be in our grasp.  It is a journey, and the destination will be different for each of us.  See it, awaken, and explore the possibilities.

I marvel at Bo and all those mentioned above that help bring his concepts to life.  I highly recommend this show but be prepared to be amazed…and ponder afterwards your own avenues of coping with a very complicated world.  I highly recommend this show, and if you do choose to see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.

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