Ink Cowboy

The idea of me making life performance using the fringes of my leather jacket as part of the costume of a Western hero at first scared me, but then it is actually entirely within the limits of all bizarre ideas and wild creativity own to Jiri Cernicky, who came up with it.

In the summer of 2021 in Beijing, my wife and an old friend, curator and performer Shu Yang started to talk me into the realization of the "Ink cowboy" performance. During that time the wild West seemed no longer so unacceptable to me as it did 3 years ago. On the contrary, in the atmosphere of the World marked with Covid pandemic and international political crisis it attracted me for its wild humor and Dadaist taste.

The entirely irracional connection of a cowboy or rather a Western hero with Chinese ink paintng started to feel as an ironic and fair expression of the complicated and inconsistent cultural identity of my own. In the same time I thought that such a form of this crazy travesty would be able to express my situation better than sentimental and chatty analyses and interpretations.

The question of possibility of an understanding and a dialog between two completely different cultural traditions on the basis of visual art is very much ridiculed here. The problem was simplified, caricatured and excessed by Dada-like performance. Nevertheless, its core did not fade. To the contrary, during the repeating performances it began to reveal other connections linked to it. Over the months the performance started to reveal more and more layers of meaning which were originally unintended.

The connection of the medium of the traditional Chinese ink painting and the character of its performer - a cowboy, or rather a gunman or bandit of the wild West turned to be contrasting enough to be able to carry repeating performances in which the motif was being developed.

It could be very hard to imagine a connection of more different cultural values and approaches than the connection of the clichés of the traditional Chinese ink painting and the cult of a Western hero. However, the trully ironic meaning had to be supported by emphasised trustworthiness of the mentioned cultural contexts. Especially by the technical finesse of the ink painting.

The reactions of the audiences significantly enriched the performances with originally unintented and unknown dimensions.

"Horse" - Dawantang

"Mountains of white stones"

"Buffalo" - Dawantang

"Little horse and mule" - Guiping

"Hanged man"