Peng Zuqiang: Hindsights
Cell Project Space, 2022, Softcover, 184 pages, 21 × 13.5 cm
Contributions by Ren Yue, Shaonan Xi, Alvin Li
Hindsights is the debut publication of Chinese artist, Peng Zuqiang, launched during the occasion of his first UK solo exhibition, Sideways Looking, presented at Cell Project Space.
Ren Yue offers an ‘outtake’ in short story form, tangling together characters and situations depicted in Peng’s 5-channel moving image ‘keep in touch’. Things left unsaid in the viscous summer heat hang over them as table tennis matches, frustrating parties, nails cut and lab experiments recount the knotty relationships at hand. In addition, Ren Yue contributes two Chinese language poems that speak to ‘Sight Leak’ and ‘The Cyan Garden’, works presented in Sideways Looking alongside ‘keep in touch’.
Shaonan Xi reflects on the 30-year history of Lai Lai, a dance floor which served working-class gay and trans people in Shanghai from 1990 until 2019. A screening of the documentary Come Dance With Me (dir: Liu Yunyi, 2019), organised by Peng Zuqiang in Shanghai for a small audience, restates the importance of unstable constellations of relationships, that made Lai Lai what it was. Drawing upon a non-Western drag and camp sensibility, an embodied lexicon of queer identifications and disidentifications that Lai Lai routinely hosted, Xi points to Lai Lai’s significance as a site for radical acts of care such as receiving HIV medication through contraction (when a person willingly contracts HIV to be able to give medication to a patient who is legally prohibited from obtaining it) in the face of structural obstacles in healthcare provision.
Alvin Li's 'From San Agustín Etla to Zipolite' is an auto-fictional account of the trials and tribulations of being in love and a retelling of a specific long-distance relationship with a person named Nick. Conflicts around real or assumed cultural ignorance, differences in sexual and pop music preferences (‘you were so punk rock, I grew up on hip hop’) become the backdrop to humorous self-reflection on love, longing, misperception, becoming someone else and mourning what was or could have been.