Why Mongolia? Where did this idea come from?
Mongolia appeared before me by accident, and the idea developed on its own in an intuitive way.
Looking back now, I think this is a kind of mixture, discovering the contrast between nomadic culture and more modern capitalization, the fast and multi-colored landscape, and the difference in the kind of light you can get during the day.
How long do you stay there every time?
In the past five years, I have been to Mongolia three times.
I stayed for about two weeks for the first time. The second time my father and I rode bicycles, it was a repeat of our childhood vacation in France. We stayed together for 27 days. I asked my father to imagine taking a portrait of himself. I set up the camera and he took a few portraits of me. That trip was not easy for me, but in the end I kept a happy memory.
I did the third trip alone in the winter with a temperature of minus 35 degrees Celsius. I want to put myself into a new environment.
- “Mongolia”, I and Tan Yi summer 2014 interview with Simon Schwyzer’s
about life, there is a false romanticism. You think of it as an adventure in a TV series or a postcard, but it just keeps yourself from drowning. This is something I can see with my eyes closed. What I see is the world my parents gave me. This is a hostile place full of colors and feelings.
——”Mongolia Project”, explanation by Simon Schwyzer
Once in the south of France, maybe in Le Muy, maybe in Saint-Tropez, the Swiss photographer Simon Schwyzer gave me a few small packages of skin care products that he took with me. I didn’t paint my face at the time. Something, one of them is a Swiss cosmeceutical mask that I have kept. A while ago, I took out this small mask and put it on the desk. Usually I do this to remind myself not to forget this friend, or I plan to take a photo for him when I greet him. Tell him that I remember his kindness to me. This small square mask may have been on my desk for more than half a year. Until July, I packed my home and put most of the clothes into several boxes, leaving only a few summer clothes. Several books and some pieces of paper are outside the box, including the birth card of Simon’s son Lenny. The card was sent from Switzerland to my mother’s house in Shanghai. On the card, Lenny’s small hands seemed to prop up her chin, and her big eyes looked down at us. Simon and the child’s mother Tania attached a poem, yes The first four sentences of British poet Blake’s “Innocent Prophecy”: One sand, one world, one flower and one heaven. Holding infinity in both hands, the moment is eternity…
It is October 2021, and the ancient Roman village of Castel di Tora where I live is already quite cold. These days I always dream of my friends in Shanghai, and sometimes they don’t know each other. ‘S old friend was sitting in the same car in his dream. I was awake in the middle of the night last night, and after falling asleep again, I still dreamed of my old friend. I dreamed of my neighbor Zhuang Jie when I lived on Dongdaming Road. The sunshine in the village this morning was lemon yellow. I thought of my friend Simon. I saw him wearing a gray-brown cowboy hat. When did I think he had worn such a hat? The light on the hills by the lake in autumn is very suitable to miss our friend Simon. When people think of him, they usually think of him as good-looking. He is always so nice and thoughtful. He is pure, gentle and focused at work…
Simon is indeed very beautiful, and the kind that will not disturb others. The first time I saw Simon was at the “Art House” on South Xiangyang Road, Shanghai, which was the property of the late owner, Ms. Zhang Ailing, on the Bund 18. Probably in 2011, Simon and Sebastien Moreu came to me together. At the time, they were making a set of album “Made in Chinese” for the French Enrico Navarra Gallery. This album involved Chinese architecture, literature, In all aspects of art, fashion, film, music, etc., they expected this album to weigh 30 kilograms. Later, I also participated in the work of this album. Sebastian said that the first time we met was in a tea house, and then we went to the “House of Art” where I lived. It is possible to meet in a tea house, and I was working hard to give up drinking in those days. I remember that in the house on Xiangyang Road, the two of them were sitting on the sofa next to me. Simon sat upright, with long hair and shawls, and his eyes were clear and transparent. He was about twenty-five years old at the time. I said he looked like An Di Warhol is the actor (Joe Dallesandro) in the film Trash, and of course Simon is purer than him. Now I’m wondering if I learned from them what the girl in the movie kept repeating, or if I went on to tell them that the art critic Johnathan Napack (Johnathan Napack) used to watch this movie with me in the morning. Movies, and always tell people everywhere that he watched this movie with me in Shanghai in the morning. “Parachute” used to be a consultant for the Asian region of Art Basel. He was the kind of friend who would call international long distance calls at three o’clock in the middle of the night to describe the cooking program he was watching. He suddenly passed away in 2007. On the night he passed away, my best friend Jiang Xin and Zhang Chu ate hot pot upstairs at the Cotton Club. When we ate hot pot that day, we discussed some very “ultimate” topics. Before that, we ran into a person I liked and his new girlfriend in a dance club. I remember that the club’s second floor was circular, and I was standing. The place where I can clearly watch the man I have been obsessed with for many years dancing with his new girlfriend. I don’t remember if I said this to Simon and Sebastian. Usually I like to tell stories, say a lot of names and details. It can be said that I threw out some names because of moderate vanity. It can also be said that I am using the energy represented by these names. I want to establish a possibility of communication, or In fact, I’m just nervous. And Simon will not talk nonsense because of tension, Simon is very honest. That day, Sebastian was mainly introducing the “Made in Chinese” series. He squatted beside the sofa where I was sitting and turned it over to me. Looking at the iPad in his hand, page by page introduces the galleries he works in and the art books they have produced. Every time when talking about this night, Sebastian always said, “Later, a pair of Belgian brothers came to the living room.” This pair of Belgian brothers should have come to the Shanghai International Fine Art Fair. That night was a bit peculiar, although I thought it was an ordinary night, just like many peculiar nights I have experienced in Shanghai.
What is your daily life in Mongolia (except for work)?
Is it different every time?
In my daily travel, I care about nutrition, finding a place to sleep, and deciding where to go next.
In addition to photography, I also spend time exploring the local environment on foot. I am very interested in the lives of people living around me and will follow some people to their homes. I try not to stay in one place for more than a few days. I spend a lot of time on the journey.
I believe that the first trip is more introverted. I got up very late and only had brief contact with strangers. I was reading some books that I brought, I ate some food, my body did not accept these foods, I got sick after a few days. There are many places to accept and learn around me. So most of my time is like standing in the background, observing and finding my rhythm.
Why Mongolia? Where did this idea come from?