Here is the first episode of the Visual Poets series. This episode features the reading of an excerpt of Phoenix by Ouyang Jianghe. The poem was inspired by a sculptural work of the same title by Xu Bing. Xu Bing’s sculpture, actually two sculptures–a male “feng” 鳳 and female “huang” 凰– is comprised almost entirely of objects found on worksites in Beijing. Phoenix, created between 2008 and 2010, has been on view in both the US (Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in New York, and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams, MA) and China (Today Art Museum).
Ouyang’s poem was also a two-year project, extending between 2010 when he saw Xu’s sculpture in New York, and 2012, when the work of 19 stanzas was finally published. At roughly 400 lines, the poem was first published in 2012 by Oxford (Hong Kong), and then re-published by Chinacitic Press this past July. The recording of the poem in the video took place on July 5, at the Central Academy for Fine Arts in Beijing where Chinacitic was promoting Ouyang’s book, along with two others (a new work of fiction by Liu He and an edited volume of poems for children by Bei Da0). Xu Bing was also present at the event.