Good Luck: Guest solo show
Hemuse Gallery, 3-038, North Area, Pinggod Shequ, 32 Baiziwan Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100022
17 July – 4 August, 2012
In some ways there’s really not a lot to say about this show. The elements of the show are seemingly simple, based around a short video loop showing a woman in a hospital bed speaking the words “Good Luck” and the execution of the show is kept restrained with just some medical notes, a contract and a wall text.
The woman in the bed is in fact dying. For the exhibition the artists paid this woman’s family 2000RMB (US$314) to purchase her announcement of the phrase “Good Luck” (or, more literally, “wish you success”). The handwritten contract is a record of this transaction, the woman’s case history notes in metal hospital clipboards record her own state of health, and the wall text provides the context: “On July 5th, 2012, members of guest paid Sheng Mingfeng, a patient on her deathbed at a hospital in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, to say the phrase ‘Good Luck.’”
As with the best conceptual work, where this show becomes effective is in the ramifications of this act by the artists. The effects of this presentation—while uncomfortable—deserve attention, in that we, the audience should be aware of our own assumptions with the subject matter. Good Luck also deserves attention because this piece threatens to slip into a particular way of thinking by artists in general, an aloofness from the sources and consequences of their work that can be problematic at best, and sociopathic at worst.