了园 Liao Garden (2012-Now)
The story of “Liao Garden” and the previous working process of “The Age of Empire” can be traced back to the beginning of the new millennium, when Zheng Guogu encountered a piece of land in the suburb of his hometown Yangjiang. By 2005, when he started the construction of The Age of Empire, the piece of land had been continually expanding. He dug canals and built mountains, planted trees and built houses, just like playing the computer game Age of Empires, but the “Empire” in the real world incorporates more complicated spatial forms and social relations. “Liao Garden” is not just a site-specific, spectacular work, but a project that has extended into real life situations, including the entire process from the conception to the realization of the space, and its sustenance in real life.
Since 2012, he changed the name from The Age of Empire to Liao Garden. Despite the name change, Liao Garden will continue upon the unfinished journey set out by its predecessor with new connotations of energetics, where Zheng Guogu would like to describe the artistic concern in the following way:
In the course of its evolution from The Age of Empire to Liao Garden, this place has indeed undergone many changes. The shift that took place from the continuous expansion in The Age of Empire to the focus on perception and cognition in Liao Garden, indicates that the place is mutating toward a different form of aesthetics that is distinguished from semiotics. It’s an aesthetic of the energetics of the ground, such that it would foster an artist’s consciousness and will to take deep roots in the ground, connecting with all kinds of joining points of energy that are buried underneath the surface, responding to them, and letting reality’s contradictions counter each other in one place, a process from which inspiration will naturally spark.
For Zheng Guogu, the transformation between daily space and art space goes on uninterrupted. The artworks become the crystals endlessly refracting from this brimful flow of perceptions while testing the energies in his surroundings and making us think: how to return to creation and existence itself?