REALITY CHECK 鬥法
Mountain River Jump!
Curated by Rui Lin
June 10th – July 24th, 2017
Opening Reception Jun 9th, 2017, 7 – 10 pm
SLEEPCENTER is thrilled to present the first U.S. solo exhibition REALITY CHECK 鬥法 by the Chinese twin psychic sisters duo Mountain River Jump! 山河跳！(features Shan Huang and He Huang.)
As press release of REALITY CHECK 鬥法, a series of interviews between Mountain River Jump! and curator of the exhibition Rui Lin will be released in form of transcript prior and during the exhibition period.
雙胞姊妹神婆組合 山河跳！（黃山，黃河）將於公元二零一七年六月降神美國紐約，在位於曼島唐人街的 SLEEPCENTER 舉行 鬥法儀式。
在接下來的一段時間內，我們將陸續以文本的形式發佈一系列 山河跳！與展覽策展人林銳之間的對談，與您討論和分享 鬥法 背後的故事。
Shan Huang 黃山 (1985, Guangzhou) currently lives and works in Guangzhou, China. Her work has been included in group exhibitions “Ziran / Nature” at Brunkswiker Pavillon, Kiel, Germany (2015); “Institution Production” at Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China (2015); “Canton Impression”, at Kuiyuan Gallery, Guangzhou, China (2015); “Lending Art, Museum of Unknown” at Times Museum, Guangzhou, China (2013); “A Three Days Treatment”, Globe – Art, Music & Performance in the Deutsche Bank, Frankfurt, Germany(2011); and “Connecting Concept” , Beijing Design Week, Beijing, China (2011). In 2014, she founded the mini art foundation Three Foundation. In 2016, she formed the artist duo Mountain River Jump! with her twin sister He Huang.
He Huang 黃河 (1985, Guangzhou) currently lives and works in Guangzhou, China. Her recently exhibition includes solo exhibition “Huang He / Yellow River: The Dog Urine” at Canton Gallery, Guangzhou, China (2016); group exhibitions such as “Glossy! Shiny! Fertility!” at Starproject, Hong Kong (2015); “Ziran / Nature” at Brunkswiker Pavillon, Kiel, Germany (2015); and “Lending Art, Museum of Unknown” at Times Museum, Guangzhou, China (2013). In 2009, she published The Virtual Feng Shui of Master Q, based on a virtualFeng Shui (Chinese geomancy) project built in the video game Second Life, invited by RMB City. In 2016, she formed the artist duo Mountain River Jump! with her twin sister Shan Huang.
Mountain River Jump! 山河跳！is an artist duo formed by the twin-sister artists Huang Shan and Huang He. They enjoy studying intangible beings and performing out-of-time practices, as they attempt to transform supernatural and transcendent experiences into touchable forms, and to approach humanism with occultism. As “Mountain River Jump!”, through conceptual ways they jump out from the three realms (trailokya)- the desire realm, the form realm, and the formless realm.
Past exhibition and workshop project includes, group exhibition “Marching in Circles” at Long March Space, Beijing, China (2017); “Mutual Telepathy” at 5 Art Space, Guangzhou, China (2016); and “Fortune Teller’s Tent: Tarot and Horoscope” at OCAT Shenzhen, Shenzhen, China (2016).
What is “Mountain River Jump!”
The contents of this interview originated from WeChat conversations between Rui Lin and Shan Huang & He Huang
What is “Mountain River Jump!”?
Shan Huang (using He Huang’s account)
Basically, in Mountain River Jump!, we continuously explore and play with the supernatural and divinatory stuffs, a kind of interest we had since childhood. I can tell you that even as early as kindergarten, we formed a “superpower/psychic group” with the other kids (so you can imagine about us).
So, we had a lot of communications on this kind of topics. One distinctive story was when I was in 3rd grade, my mum brought home one of those sketchy passing-time magazines you would buy from the train station vendor. In the magazine, there were tons of translated Western stories on UFO and ghost, which were mostly X-file kind of made up mythology stories, but we believed them, and convinced ourselves that they were real. At about the same time, the popular Hong Kong TV show “Hong Kong Today” aired the “alien autopsy footage” from the “Roswell UFO Incident”. It was such a hit! We were so obsessed by it and were constantly talking to our friends about it.
It originated from curiosity. And it is now for us the method to understand the reality, while we’ve always felt rather distanced from the materiality and practical sides of this world. (This origin of curiosity) also includes that childhood experience I wrote you in the email: hanging out in the tourist park where ethnic minority people worked in. It triggered our interest, like opening the portal, to the ancient and spiritual world of shamanism.
When Shan Huang and I were young, our mum worked in a tourist park called “Ethnic Culture Village” in Shenzhen. The park mimicked the so-called “aboriginal life” of many Chinese ethnic minorities, with young minority people worked and dressed in their own ethnic outfits as. And I believe being in there was a source of influences to us. In that park, which was vast to us as kids, we got into touch with many “living space, sacrificial space, and ritual space” of the “aborigines”. Those campfires and bull heads left such strong impression to us, we felt the impression of cultural ancestry (like they are actual ancestors of us!): though for the rational adults these were just children fantasies. I feel the life with some supernatural beliefs is more happy and complete. It made us felt more connected (with the past and the real world). More than 10 years ago, Shan Huang had a dream: two young men, maybe from a Yi ethnic tribe, were jumping like tigers in a shamanistic nuo dance. They then performed a rain-invoking ritual with amber stones on a river bank. This dream had influence to us too, especially with the action of “Jump”, it eventually leaded to the name of our duo.
As we have been fascinating with spiritual and supernatural things since childhood, our communist family always viewed us as weirdos. Growing up in this environment was painful. For example, one day we suddenly said we want to give up eating meat, the other family members despised us; we believe there is ghost, people thought it as non-sense…etc. So, I think whether capable of feeling supernatural and superpower, and whether believe in reincarnation and ghost, are in fact issues also related to politics of daily life.
It is also about trying to be happy. The life is happier (with supernatural beliefs), as our real life was very dull. It was just the typical regulated Chinese high school life (when Shan Huang had the dream), there was no freedom (during school hours), (and the spare time) was filled with mostly pop culture. In fact, we did not read much about the shamanistic nuo dance at all back then. Having such dream in a sudden, left a great impression to us.
Since you used phrases such as“Mountain River Jump! believes/thinks”in our previous conversation, could I understand “Mountain River Jump!” as a collective concept and thinking pattern of some sort?
Shan Huang (using He Huang’s account)
In terms of creative works, we want to define a specific ram of spiritual space, specifically dedicate for our kinds of interest, and it is a collaborative effort between Shan Huang and me, for these, we formed Mountain River Jump!. This collaboration doesn’t necessarily have to be us making artworks together. What is important is that we come together to discuss and explore these interests, and to expand this space, to continuously come out with new discoveries and possibilities. We each have our own individual practice and directions and will continuously do so, they are all different from Mountain River Jump!. What are special to Mountain River Jump! are the topics regarding divination, horoscope, prophecy, ghost, etc.
So, I think you are correct: it is a conceptual pattern, schema, and behavior.
Whether making artworks together depends on our feelings at the moment. Sometimes we work together, sometimes not. Mountain River Jump! was just founded in last year, and our duo was only showed once in the group exhibition “Marching in Circles”(2016) at Long March Space, Beijing.
What interests me particularly in Mountain River Jump! as an artist collective, is the identity of both members being twin sisters to each other. I would imagine as growing up and been living together for such extensive time, the amount and the depth of communication and the exchange of thoughts between you two can only be massive. It distinguishes you among other artist collectives. I am wondering, from your perspective, what influence does the twin sister identity/relation has in Mountain River Jump!?
Shan Huang (using He Huang’s account)
Within Mountain River Jump!, our still work separately. Our practices are often rooted in or influenced by the numerous discussions and communications between us. This kind of communication goes days and nights, and contains a gigantic amount of information. Different from the communications between common friends, which is separated in time, our communication is continuous and vast.
Thus, we can say that Mountain River Jump! is a demonstrative platform of the dialogue between Shan Huang and me, a creative space defined by us, a behavioral schema, and a workshop that is relatively private but can also be immediately opened (to the audience).
Regarding “twin sisters”, we also tried telepathy between us, though not as powerful as the case showed in a BBC documentary. It is a mystery of the nature. Since this idea of twins having supernatural power has existed in various folk cultures for a long time, we thought we could try it and enhance it.
About…belief/faith, about the so-called duel between materialism and idealism, it has always been the backdrop, as cultural environment (of China), that everybody in this generation grew up to. It continues to evoke various questions, problems, contentions, and social phenomenon, and to generate various happiness or pain too. We believe we shout pay attention to it, rather than ignoring it. I think Mountain River Jump! is about the spiritual freedom. The aspiration toward this freedom is long and far.
Maybe we are not psychic at all, but we just want to explore.
是这样的，在山河跳! 组合里，我们不停尝试和探索的是和 超自然、占卜有关的兴趣，因为这个兴趣是我们从小一直以来的共同兴趣，甚至在幼儿园的时候我们就和小朋友组合过所谓的超能力小组（这个说出来是方便阁下想象）
所以是从小到大一起玩和交流很多和这些方面有关的“话题”，我印象很深的是大概在3年级我妈拿回家一本火车站买的小杂志，里面大量翻译了那种不大靠谱但感觉非常真实的UFO、幽灵的文章，然后也在那段时间香港电视节目，当时很火的 真日体真d 在播放 罗兹威尔的 外星人解剖视频，让我们不停的和身边朋友讨论这些事情
所以这是一种好奇心，或者对我们来讲去感受世界 真实性 的方式，对我们来讲很多仅仅是物质、现实层面的事物反而是有心理距离的。包括在邮件里和你提到的另外的童年经历，在少数民族上班 的 旅游区逛，开启那种古老巫术的精神世界 的兴趣
因为其实像我们这样天生有些神怪的人，在全家党员的环境里成长总被认为是怪胎，很痛苦的，比如我们小时候忽然说要吃素，别人就会很嫌弃；我们相信有鬼，人家觉得无厘头，等等。所以我觉得是否感受到 超自然，超能力，是否相信轮回灵魂等与否，其实也是关系到 日常政治层面的事情.
所以也是关于 快乐，这样会更快乐。因为现实生活中我们生活都很“沉闷”的， 就是那种被规划得很死的一般中学生的话语，完全没有自由的那种，接触大量的流行文化；其实当时看书也没怎样看过傩戏的内容，忽然有这样的梦，我们印象很深刻。
由於之前提到了“【山河條！】認為”這樣的詞語，那麼我是否可以將 山河跳！ 理解為一個思考模式？
在创作方面，我们想 划定出 一个精神空间，特定是和这些方面的兴趣有关的，是我和黄山一起合作的，因此有了 山河跳! ，这个合作未必一定是一起做作品，而重要的是，一起讨论和探索这个兴趣，扩大这个空间，不停的有新的发现。我们在从前和现在都有各自单独的创作，探讨的方向都和 山河跳！ 不一样，仅仅在 山河跳! 的话语里，会直接有像 占卜，占星，预言，灵魂，等等各种 话语。
是否一起做作品，可能看特定的感觉，有时候一起，有时候不一起，因为山河跳!也是去年成立的，我们目前就在 长征空间 的展览 原地前进，完全地合作过一次！嗯！
在 山河跳！ 里我们各自创作的作品，根源和背景都是我们一直以来很多讨论跟交流的结果，这种交流的信息量是很庞大，不计日夜的，就是不同于其他朋友间有时间隔断的交流，我们之间的交流是很多，很多的
所以 山河跳! 可以说是一个 我和黄山之间对话平台的展现，也是我们规划出来的创作时空，也是行为图式，也是一个既可以相对封闭也可以迅速打开（面对观众）的工作坊
双胞胎，因为我们之间也试过心灵感应，虽然没有像BBC discovery某记录片的案例那么厉害。这是个 自然之谜。那在古老的各种文化的传说里，都说双胞胎可能有某种 超自然力，那我们觉得可以试一下，强化一下。
因为其实 信仰，所谓 唯物主义和唯心主义 之争，都是我们全体人的背景音，它一直在生产出各种问题争执和现象，一直在生产各种痛苦和快乐，我们觉得有必要正眼看它，而不是忽略它。我觉得 山河跳！ 和精神自由有关，这种对自由的需要是古老的。