If upon a cage with an elephant you see a sign reading « buffalo », do not believe your eyes
--Kouzma Proutkov

- About the title of the work: “Un immigrant sans papiers”, having no identity papers, is being tongue-tied, is silence. Silence is the main idea of this work.

- About this piece :In autumn 2005, I had been invited by Kunstvereniging Diepenheim (Netherlands) for a group exhibition, for which I prepared to make a new work. Like in many small towns in the heart of Europe there were no immigrants in Diepenheim. The town had never been directly touched by globalization. Perhaps it is out of this reason, that they had invited a number of artists with different cultural backgrounds for the exhibition. In order to take a look at the space, I stayed in the town overnight, and in the early morning of the next day, I made some pictures with a digital camera in a nearby cattle farm. A local farmer stopped me and took my camera away, trying to remove the film. I hurried to find the curator, who could explain in Dutch that a digital camera doesn’t have a film. In the end we solved this «crisis» with the help of the local police. I did not particularly care about this incident, but I noticed that the place was rich in dairy cattle, which made me think of Laozi. It came to my mind that he actually contested globalization: He said « Don’t step outside your door, comprehend the world. » and further,  » (Merely) Hear the sounds of each other’s chickens and dogs. The people reach old age and death without any interaction. » Laozi seldom went out, if he did so, he rode his water buffalo, so as if the buffalo was the base or the extension of his spirit. In winter 2005, I went to Fuzhou in China to look for a buffalo to complete this work. Together with craftsmen of a specimen workshop we looked around in a slaughterhouse. We approached one water buffalo; he tended his body towards me and bowed his head. The meaning of his bowed head was significant. I said « This one will go to Europe, nevertheless only his skin and skull ». I had the craftsmen carefully measure the buffalo’s size and take photos in order to realize his specimen. If we consider the cart a « temple », with the buffalo inside the cart, then we could imagine the buffalo as a venerated “god ». To imagine this work as a “Taoist temple” is actually not so strange.

Huang Yongping

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