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Shamans: Cang Xin and Nacho Zubelzu

Shamans: Cang Xin and Nacho Zubelzu
Shamans: Cang Xin and Nacho Zubelzu
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AI Witchcraft (2015-2016) is the new work by Chinese artist Cang Xin (China, 1967). Over his creative career spanning more than two decades, he has been not only a witness to but also an active participant in some of the most important socio-political and cultural changes in China’s recent history. This pair of installations consists of a movable structures on which two dragons of dark silver color tail biting, one with male face and the other with female appereance. Like the sea snakes surrounding the body of Laocoon and his sons in Rome Vatican Museums, these dragons writhe in a circular motion on a square base. In the new work of Cang Xin there are several binomials, such us male-female, man-animal and man vs. machine. In the artworks of both Cang Xin and Spanish artist Nacho Zulbelzu (Spain, 1966) we find a dialogue of the opposite. The dragon is a symbol of mystery, power and ritual linked to the emperor in ancient China, which finds its echo on the surface of white dragon-flakes pattern of Transhumance (2013) by Nacho Zubelzu. The dark color in Cang Xin’s installations and the hardness of the material contrasts with the whiteness and delicacy of Zubelzu’s Woods in the snow (2016).

However, if something both artists have in common is the role they adopt to nature, they are shamans. Nacho Zubelzu intervenes in nature as an external agent according to the anthropocentric conception in Western thought, as noted in his performance Life Journey (2012). Meanwhile, Cang Xin participates in nature as an integrated element, as the Taoist thought, and as noted in some of his series of performance-photographs. In The man and the sky as one (2007), the artist lies on the rocks and the silhouette of his body merges with them, inhabiting the sublime landscape as a tiny character of the Northern Song dynasty paintings.


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