The Branches of Time
-Photography Solo Exhibition of Fu Bailin
By Xiang LiPing
“Time keeps branching into countless futures.”
– Jorge Luis Borges
Heidegger used to say: “‘the life of man’ is a ‘dwelling for the poetic’”, “poetry first causes dwelling to be dwelling”, “But where is the space and time left for poetry in today’s dwelling?” The pursuit of fame, fortune, power, and influence fundamentally deviates from the nature of dwelling. From his perspective, what we called convenient and beautiful modern life is nothing but being alive; Sadly, we have no awareness of living in such poverty and darkness. Fortunately, we have artists. They are keenly aware of the poverty of the human spirit, the distance from the divinity, and the gloom of the world. Their creative work can bridge the rift between the poor era and the poetic dwelling.
The Existence of Authenticity
The living condition of Fu Bailin is like the authentic existence that Heidegger admired:“Once we choose our career, our life will be both in the present and in the future, and connected with the past at the same time. Everything is the present, and our life will blossom in this career with the surging passion of being alive…” Bailin followed his heart and nature, gave up the convenience of digital technology, returned to film photography, and explored in depth the mystery and magnificence of nature. He always treats his life and photography creation with such authenticity, which is not only a transcendental and enthusiastic state, but also a reverse time-perception way of observing the past from the future. Therefore, he always has abundant energy to remove different obstacles in his soul journey.
The Branches of Time
His photographic creation folks the accelerated, bustling, noisy, and reinforced concrete city, bringing a moment of pure and undisturbed nature. The snow-white wild horses out of expectation, the turbulent currents with flying spray, the blue glacier standing in silence, the golden branches studded with sunlight, and the bright moonlight above the dark sea, are all shining the divine brilliance and vigorous vitality. The sky and the earth are the battlefields where modern people chasing for desires and powers. With purity, Bailin presents us the nature that is not an object being tamed and remolded. Just as Roland Barthes summed up the essence of the landscape: “Looking at these landscapes of predilection, it is as if I were certain of having been there of going there.”
The Two-sidedness of Timing
The timing of shooting is of decisive significance for photography. Bailin is not only good at grasping and creating opportunities, but also turning unfavorable situations into golden opportunities. For example, there was a storm breaking out and people hiding in the cabins, but Bailin insisted on working in the heavy rain in order to capture the unique and secret beauty that the sea presented to him while creating “Sea No. 20”. The raindrops fell to the gray-blue sea, intermittently forming the vague waterlines. The undulating waves had been abstracted by the gloomy sky as the water patterns in ancient Chinese paintings: the waves are hooked and then blended with some white spoondrift, then the ripples and colors gradually fade away to the distance, and eventually, the water and the sky merge in one color. There have both the recall of experience and the prediction of future trends as for the choice of timing. The ultimate result depends on the current execution. The successful capture of these precious images is precisely owed to Bailin’s consistent authenticity. Once a decision is made, persistence and devotion will make the time the golden opportunity. How a person acts and exists is what that person is. Bailin is a contemporary person that lives at the moment, exists in reality, listens to his inner voice, and is good at seizing the moment.
His photography creation is the result of quantum interaction between him and the subject, creating a lively and abundant world. The active and vivifying tranquility in his art brings not only people back to the relationship where human being, heaven and earth, nature and species are all being and belong together, but also their heart return to the original or destined place, re-sharing the greatness and dignity of nature.