This work recalls a memory from a period when I was in the preparatory class cramming for China’s art examination. As the artist has already experienced the whole process, he is able to enter as a “winner” in the context to reproduce this exam-oriented system with new perspective and showcase vividly the stressful life and mental state occurring before the exam. It is also a kind of self decompression that allows for an immersed experience and the inner psychological activity and exterior performance to be displayed in Behavior Theater through this performance.
The preparatory class, a unique educational system in China, is born out of selective competition. Students must complete this rigorous course if they have any intention of studying art at University. For body movements performed in this theater work, they are very common and representative, a stiff repetition in this case. For instance the seated position of the performer (sitting on the Mazama stool, there the artist is moving the upper body constantly, the arms movements in particular, while immobilizing the lower body) is inspired by scenes from the preparatory class. Evident in the constant drilling by requiring the same gesture and the compulsive refreshing of mind, the artist finds those issues far more interesting especially when integrated with dance. Due to the “boundary’ in dance, it is extremely tricky to balance the relationship between the reproduction and abstraction of elements therefrom. Starting from a ritual, then on to norms and bringing down of “the fourth wall”, and next onto the exploration upon the body movement itself or in other word tracing the ritualized dance, the work has been ascending like in a spiral, endowing this art form with great diversity and still allowing for new possibilities in theater, behavior and dance.