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Art Review -- Wuwei: Being and Nothing ★★★★✩

The iron door opens onto a small garden, and in the garden is an attempt to understand all the mysteries of the world. [Wuwei: Being and Nothing](http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/shanghai/events/50718/) poses the question: **is nothingness the opposite of being?** Wuwei is the Taoist doctrine of non-action, or acting in a spontaneous way without thought and expectation. The five artists in this show use this doctrine as a point of departure to create works that attempt to get us thinking about the big questions. In **Cindy Ng**’s ink and water video, we see black and white images of deserts, horses, mountains twirling in the wind and skies falling. Ink flows in unpredictable directions. We see the world collapsing and reforming, but we have no control over its shape and structure. Meanwhile, **video game sound producer Ben Houge**’s installation plays back the noises of a busy Shanghai intersection. The sound of traffic recreates chaos as Houge asks where is sound going and does it have a route. **Shi Zhiying** paints dark greenish-grey oceans that contain secrets yet to be revealed. She calls her paintings “sea sutras.” The repetition of her brush strokes echoes the recitation of the sutras over the ages. Like the pathways of one’s life, the brush strokes can be seen, although their ultimate destination remains unknown. **Wang Jun** creates a still world of lakes and trees with small, fragile strokes. It is hard to tell whether we are looking into a detached world of Wang’s creation or whether we are being looked at by someone inside the painting. In **Wang Hui**’s performance piece she chants sutras while fingering sutra-engraved wooden washboards, a process of creation (of sound) without expectation of any result. The whole show is a trippy experience, but nicely illustrates the absurdity of existence. Once you fall into the rabbit hole, it’s up to you to find out what the secrets are in Wonderland. **Xing Zhao**

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