Beijing performance artist Zhou Jie is currently sleeping on the job. Her latest performance piece, 36 Days, sees Zhou living in an exhibition hall for that exact amount of time. The performance began on 11 August, and has since drawn waves of gallery-hoppers to the Beijing Now Art Gallery.
The basics of the performance are ostensibly straightforward: Zhou is allowed food, water, and bathroom breaks; she’s even allowed time with her cell phone. The installation is made interesting, however, by the fact that she is sleeping naked every night on a bed made from iron wire.
During the 36 days, Zhou will work to finish the intentionally skeletal components of her wrought-iron bedroom, which includes adorable/frightening “stuffed animals,” while also going about her daily life. Visitors are free to drop by and interact with Zhou.
Zhou has said she intends for vsitors to connect the installation with their daily lives. In response to concerns about her decision to sleep on skin-piercing wires, she has been interviewed saying, “The wire has two uses: one is as a protective net, the other is as a piercing material; one is defense, one is attack. On one hand, you’re reinforcing a bed that hurts you, but you’re also relying on it and using it. The things people make every day: people spend time manufacturing these sorts of things, but they’re also hurting you every day.”
Zhou’s sleeping habits have made some less-acquainted-with-the-concept-of-performance-art viewers wary, many of them expressing confusion toward her apparently masochistic decision to sleep without clothes. Zhou, however, has defended her choice, saying, “Because I’m moving (my) life into this exhibition hall, and because fundamentally, in my ordinary life, I sleep naked, I don’t think it’s any large thing.” Zhou has said that not wearing clothes adds strength to the installation’s message as well.
The exhibit has become popular – or infamous, depending on how you look at it – on Weibo (NSFW link), with a tag translating to “Sleeping Naked on Iron Wire” accruing more than 1.5 million reads for four-thousand posts. Some of the more popular responses include “What happens if her aunt comes to see the performance?” As well as mocking petitions to install “Do not touch the exhibit” signs.
Whatever your opinion, Zhou Jie’s exhibition will continue into September at Beijing Now.
Visit the original source and full text: the Beijinger Blog