Friendship First, Competition Second ---Xin Yunpeng Solo Exhibition
2020.07.02 - 2020.08.02
Artists: Xin Yunpeng

Friendship First, Competition Second

C5CNM is pleased to announce the opening of artist Xin Yunpeng's solo project "Friendship First, Competition Second". The reception will be held on July 2, after 6pm. The exhibition will last until August 2.

If we apply this directive to the art context, then it goes, politics first, art second. Today, it is the Americans whose art claims politics first, but it is us in actuality, who know politics first, when we cannot speak about participation openly.

Artist Xin Yunpeng asked me to play myself in his timely work. In order not to break character, my option now (in this text) is to avoid explaining the art work from the role of a curator. Instead, I’m put in the position of confessing my own feelings and concerns about the current state of international relations as a Chinese American living in China. 

I do not perceive using the meme “Friendship First, Competition Second” is merely a taunt against the Ping-Pong Diplomacy of China and U.S. in the 70s, even though the voice in my head did assume an exaggerated Peking accent, concealing the urgency of the reminder, perhaps because of the serious intentions of the message. 

When translating this title, the artist and I encountered a minor difficulty: the game is not in the hands of the players. Only someone who grew up in China’s mainland could “hear” it, for it was meant only to our side then, and it is even harder to convey the irony I feel about it now. It seems to have been pre-determined in the beginning, though average people were included in the benefiting side by given that grace, namely the last 50 years’ contact with the world, but ultimately people were denied the right to, or never meant to, participate in the decision of their own future.

Zhou Yi

Supported by De Sarthe Gallery