Hu Weiyi is known for modularity and unpredictability, but this exhibition is well-planned and strategized. The idea of the convoy was decided on first, then the route from Shanghai to Beijing. Apparently unplanned experiences along this route become the focal point of the project.
In the exhibition, however, it seems Hu had no plans to augment or otherwise alter the mentality of a typical road trip. This 1000 kilometer excursion, taking place over three days, is ultimately no more than a means to transport people and objects that must show up in Beijing anyway. Hu places flags representing various body parts on abandoned sites, roads, and tracts of wilderness, where the ink from the paper flags is scattered by strong winds, a seemingly random act that highlights the premeditation of the project. Compressed into a highly formulaic series of scenes, the work stands apart from the actual experience of traveling.
What was the point of this seemingly profound road trip? What exactly transpired between the artist and the objects he created between start and end? If the artist’s journey is an attempt to go from the studio to public space, this road trip simply moved away from one geographical location and approached another. The only notable point may be the highly ceremonial nature of the project: a collection of old objects inside the spinning wheel, neon letters in old leather bags, images on the body of a truck. Ultimately, their amalgamation removes any connection to the totality of the experience, and leaves the objects scattered.
Text by Ju Baiyu
Translated by Frank Qian
No Express: Hu Weiyi