Xu Jiang ,8/13/2016
In 1947, Mr. Fei Xiaotong wrote in his book From the Soil: The Foundations of Chinese Society: “Our nation is indeed inseparable from the soil. Our glorious history stems from the soil; therefore nature is bound by the soil.” Recently, British science writer Philip Ball has regarded China as a civilization closely related to water. He thinks that water has a great influence on our lives, from daily life to philosophy. Thus, “It forms an extremely close relationship among hydraulic engineering, domination, incorruptness and metaphysics.” I would like to point out that weaving also has a very special meaning in China. Weaving does not only mean weaving. It also becomes a knowledge and a method of our life. Weaving is the integration of horizontal and vertical layout as well as the connections between “the longitude and latitude”. Therefore, we can say that weaving exists as both the material of our cloths and the philosophy of our life; it guides the exploring process from the outside to the inside. We have a sense of personal identity within it.
China has a very long history of silk production. Silk is also called “silkworm weave” in China. It is a gift of civilization endowed by the nature to China from ancient times. People in China used to feed silkworms with mulberry leaves and silkworms spin and cocoon, which are nature's enlightenment. This inspiration formed a life tradition in this place, and also had a deep influence on the peaceful and soft characters of the people here. The oldest silk threads and silk fabrics were excavated in the Archaeological Site of Qianshanyang which is located in the north of Hangzhou. These silk threads and silk fabrics were made 4,200 years ago, but they still shine in the sunlight today.
In May 2016, a royal tomb of the Southern Song Dynasty was unearthed in Huangyan, Zhejiang Province. There was a silk wardrobe inside the tomb and silk dresses were found there. One of these objects was a silk dress with a lotus pattern and long sleeves. We can imagine that the ancient Chinese people were dancing elegantly in this dress. In the tomb, archaeologists also found looms and huge jacquards. The ancient Chinese people created the looms and jacquards which were very successful and had a huge influence in the world. This kind of loom and jacquard were exported to ancient India, ancient Persia and were also introduced to Europe.
In the 18th century, on the basis of this kind of Chinese Jacquard, French invented the pattern Jacquard. This pattern Jacquard directly lead to the invention of the telegram and the first-generation computer. Weaving, in the modern time, is silently affecting the internet. When we talk about the mobile life, no other word than “weave” can better describe the invisible but omnipresent microwave world around us.
The Second Hangzhou Triennial of Fibre Art choose “Weaving & We” as its theme, which begins with Hangzhou's cultural history and deeply explores the experience of existence that is integrated with our memories and thoughts.
All kinds of weave are connected to each other. For example, the process from the “wandering body suit” to the global hosiery city of Datang, Zhuji; from the fabric to the microwave; from the needle to the space-lifts. This exhibition tries to reconstruct everything in our life from the perspective of weaving. It also attempts to awaken the life experience in which we live but are unconscious of. Everything, as weaving, industry, walking, moving, city, and time, is becoming existed fabrics. The thing we are weaving and seeing is in fact our survival condition and the understanding of our weaving world.
It becomes more and more difficult to hold exhibitions nowadays. Therefore, I would like to say thanks to the Hangzhou municipal government, China National Arts Fund and Zhejiang Key University Construction Support Project for supporting this. I would like to give my respect to my colleagues from the China Academy of Art and the Zhejiang Art Museum. I’d like to express my sincere welcome and congratulations to artists with wonderful works from all over the world.