Cycling The Silk Road In China- 798 Art Zone – Beijing- Pure Bliss for art lovers
Being an artist, usually means that a most enjoyable day, is a day spent while engaging in art.
It can be painting in the studio all day, a luxury that is NOT available to me while traveling, or sitting quietly at a scenic spot in nature, or at a cafe in a busy town,
making drawings and sketches.
It can be a day in which I explore contemporary art, get in and out of modern art museums, eat in trendy places and rest in cool Cafes.
I cannot think of a place in this is MORE enjoyable to do, than right here at 798 Art Zone in Beijing.
The place has only a vague resemblance to how it looked five or six years ago.
When we visited this area years ago, it was still in transition.
Yes, there were great contemporary art galleries, but they were few and far between.
The area still had many real factories, heavy industry and abandoned buildings covered in what looked like a century of dust and grime.
There were smaller experimental studios on third and fourth floor walk ups.
In fact, in order for you not to miss the odd studio or coffee shop,they had a map of the area with markings of the places that were converted into galleries.
There were a few outdoor sculptures and only a handful of places for food or drinks.
Now, the place is booming…. In a GOOD way.
Do not let the cynics and skeptics deter you from visiting, by saying it is touristy or over developed.
This place is a MUST, for all art lovers, but especially for lovers of cutting edge art.
I can only use three words to describe the art we saw today: Fab- OU- Less!
No map is handed to the visitors, because no map is needed….. so many streets are full of art galleries and major museums, as well as studios and small shops.
Plenty of places to eat, rest and drink,….even some with free Wi Fi Internet… Which is where I am now writing this…
For this trip, I bought the new, (now discontinued) Flip video camera.
I thought that It will be more handy to use than a full size video camera.
Boy, I am glad I did this…
Today, I took some wonderful video footage, in the art zone.
One of the exhibits we saw, was of how to raise your consciousness while living in your physical body.
It was a large empty room, with only two video screens… The video installations showed a man was demonstrating mindful movements.
As I am the luckiest woman on earth, while we were there, a lean man came and changed his clothes to grey loose clothing, he laid a blue thin mat on the floor, at the center of the room… And started demonstrating mindful movements,
I clicked on my Flip on and got some wonderful footage of him.
I wanted to be like him so much…..
Just looking at his precise and mindful hand gestures and movements, made me feel calm, focused and centered inside……
It is funny how much our frantic body movements, which we do so mindlessly, actually contributes to our irritated and agitated mind.
Many of us do not understand that meditation does NOT end when you get up from the floor, and release your sitting position.
Mindfulness….. Is meant to be embodied…. And lived every moment.
While at the art district, I noticed how much the subjects and focus of the art, changed with the passing years.
Back then, most of the contemporary art had a slight tone of political criticism.
Mao Tse Dong, was featured in many sculptures and installations.
Part a parody and part a memoir, of the hardship and change that his policies brought to the people.
Now, the art deals with global issues, that effect all of us….
Most artists are exploring environmental issues, the nature of being human, the search for Enlightenment, the cost of urban development, and the nature of consciousness….
We saw a wonderful Korean photography exhibition, which was a meditation on how important it is to recognize the magic in the ordinary….. In the rusty, simple environment and settings, of daily life…
It reminded the viewer of the importance of seeing beauty and magic as you go through life…. And see places…. It reminded me to look for the magical beauty, in the seemingly ordinary….
In another gallery, saw a wonderful exhibition of oil paintings, by a famous Chinese artist named “Fang Min.”
His amazing paintings, portray people meditating, monks and Buddhist nuns, with a single colorful bug on their faces.
It is a humorous and whimsical meditation on the fact that your mind, will tell you that in order to touch Enlightenment, you’ll need to surround yourself with TOTAL silence…. and have nothing to obstruct your peace…
But even if you’ll go to a cave, or to the quiet isolated mountains, away from all the noise…. You will still find something to disturb your peace of mind….
The ever agitated mind, will never release you…
It will be bothered by a single bug, crawling on your head…. Or by the sound of a single fly…. Which will become a real and bothersome “noise” to you……
The mind cannot release you, because Enlightenment only happen when you BY PASS your mind…. And move into the realm of silence… Miracles….. And Bliss…
When you move into BEING…. Instead of the constant thinking and doing….
What a great day to see all this…. I want to come back again… There is still so much we did not see in this art area….