Barren Palace
by Feng Fangyu
In 2007, I accidentally stepped into the north west area of Old Summer Palace, and then I realized that my past understanding of the Old Summer Palace was very narrow. The royal garden which used to have good reputation of “Garden of Gardens” is now the general idea of big rocks.

The “vast” west site of Old Summer Palace has been long buried deep underground. There used to have solemn royal temple, breathtaking Buddha temple, fresh farm houses, resplendent and magnificent leisure hall and unique library, etc. Those sceneries which can be only found through ancient paintings become my motive power to go through these barren palaces.

The Old Summer Palace is kidnapped by the so-called “patriotism”. The national nerve will be affected whenever there is a Haiyan Hall Bronze Animal Heads auction overseas. The Beijing Times series of 2009 is a sarcastic criticism towards the growing “nationalism and patriotism” by that time. As for the Confused series of 2011, “the national treasures” are lonely and helpless at the misty sites. The way of return seems vague.

The Old Summer Palace “slips” from site to park. The Anglo-French Allied Force burned down the garden in history. Nowadays, the modern civilization has completely destroyed the remaining landscape and the concentrated cultural artistic conception. The Goodbye! Giuseppe Castiglione series of 2013 virtualizes my utopia. Perhaps the colors of the royal paintings and the sorrow and quiet dark night meet very much with my mood now – Goodbye! Old Summer Palace. Once I possessed you.

Translation: Fan Chen
翻 译:范 晨

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