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Exhibitions/ Art Object

30 Letters to Qiu Jiawa

Qiu Zhijie (Chinese, born 1969)
Three hanging scrolls from a set of thirty; ink on paper
Image (each): 16 ft. 4 7/8 in. × 74 13/16 in. (500 × 190 cm)
Credit Line:
Lent by a private collection, New York
Rights and Reproduction:
© Qiu Zhijie
Not on view
Part of a project entitled “A Suicidology of the Nanjing Yangzi River Bridge” initiated in 2007, this triptych presents one span of the Nanjing Yangzi River Bridge embellished with symbolic elements that present a complex meditation on time and the human condition. The bridge, which opened in 1968 as the first modern highway and railway bridge to span the Yangzi River, was designed and built entirely by the Chinese and heralded as a symbol of New China. But it is also the site of the highest number of suicides in China. Qiu’s project led him to research the bridge’s construction, to work with suicide-prevention volunteers, and to interview survivors and the families of those who have committed suicide. Each painting also includes a terse statement to his newborn daughter, from left to right: “The future they describe is only towers in the sky”; “Don’t try leaving the present”; and “You constantly need to go back to the past.”
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China," December 9, 2013–April 6, 2014.