At the age of 27, TIAN Dexi, born in 1979 in Shan Dong (China), left his country to search for new horizons. Having obtained the DNSEP in France, he devoted himself, for ten years, to sharpen his poems written with abandoned objects and recovered materials. An almost anchorite life in the suburbs of Paris inspires a meditative art based on daily experience, which will however exceed all everyday life.
The exhibition, which the artist names Stalker, dates back to the film of the same name by Tarkovsky – a Soviet filmmaker whom he admires with all his heart for his poetics and philosophical depth. Stalker, if he designates in French “stealthy and silent hunter”, it is rather of his Chinese translation that the artist is inspired: the one who is on the lookout, silently explores the nocturnal paths and is delighted by his a lonely little hiding place.
Stalker, TIAN Dexi is by his perspicacity and taciturnity, by the long wait for the “vain” air that he knows how to put before realizing a single work. He waits a long time for his “prey” – the fragile “wrecks” he has fished on the edge of the contemporary world – he raises its latent monumentality. Collect, keep and be fascinated. Everything happens in a Taoist meditative “no-action” – a worn-out wheel, a clock stopped or a simple fan blade left already enough to become poetry. Savoring the slightest textures, gestures and even smells of exiled objects, the artist introduces us to the singularity hidden in the blandness of daily newspapers.
Stalker, TIAN Dexi is more so by his vigilance, by a smell of danger that the silence of his work implies. TIAN’s poetry-installation does not end with a narcissistic lyricism, but a solemn fatality. A bestiary tooth found in the heart of the forest, a block of iron purged by the fire or a fragment of the rusty warhead that the artist puts in scene we evoke secretly the savagery that the nature and the human society carry in them since the night of time. Very intensive visual signs composed of primitive and brutal materials constantly suggest a destructive force that overhangs us.
TIAN’s work, whether monumental like these large oxygen bottles silently straightened in the center of the room, or tiny like a hanging scale weight or a dried spiral, often bow to a risky taste – a risk that all the Stalkers would have run: unknown way, lost road, dead end road – the danger of being a precursor. In TIAN’s works we find a fascinating intensity between predator and prey, between threat and surprise, between the precariousness of individual destiny and the infinite uncertainty that the future holds for us. “There is hope in my creation,” the art of TIAN Dexi silences the word so that the unspeakable speak eloquently: grow, perish, dry, renew. Think about the uncertainty of each little event, relive the temporality of each little being. The artist, by connecting life and art, makes small ruins his living garden.