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A recent conversation with Yang Qi about his new installation has touched me profoundly.
The installation titled ‘Church in Assisi, 2021’ is full of artistic energy and mysticism. The material is stone-heavy “stones” cast from expensive, pure paper pulp. It Intentionally expresses a historical and chronological sensation. It wins with a casual, simple form of beauty.Sentimental, melancholic, Christian and pure! Somehow poetic in an ancient architecture from Zen.

The installation has a long history behind its creation. Yang Qi has lectured at the summer art school at Koster Steinfeld for the last 23 years. One day after his teaching, he found this 11-century monastery. It seems to appear from nowhere with towers, temples and architectural styles from Medieval to Renaissance. Since then, the place has been engraved in his soul; its spirit somehow coincides with his artistic mind.

Three years ago, Yang Qi read a book about Medieval Art in Europe and discovered the story of San Francesco d’Assisi. He was deeply touched by the Saint’s kindness, determination and self-realisation. Immediately after completing the book Yang Qi made a painting.

A few months ago, they were lockdown at home in Dusseldorf; his wife Birgit brought some DVD from the library to watch; it happened one film was about San Francesco from Assisi. He told her ‘ This isn’t a simple coincidence; it is the message from God; he is telling me to be compassionate and be a good being.’ So ‘Church in Assisi’ installation was born.
In the installation, each ‘brick’ has the colour of the original pulp. It is the raw material of papermaking from a large German paper mill. It has a gigantic machine that presses paper pulp into big “stones”. Yang Qi has to break each ‘stone’ into unequal pieces, but it’s still so heavy to move into a perfect position. Labouring and long hours into consideration is the press of his work.

              I felt Iprivileged to share the artist’s spiritual journey of their creation.’Church in Assisi’ is the temple of his art. He offers his devotion, his compassion, enduring on his artistic journey. He shared his answer, ‘What is an artist?’ with the world.