Wedlock ( Performance )
Artist: Xiao Lu
Performance time: PM, 5th Feb. 2009
Location: Wall Art Museum, Beijing, China
Exhibition: Twenty Years Anniversary of the China/Avant-Garde exhibition
Curator: Gao Minglu
Exhibition time: 5th Feb. 2009 10:00am - 19:00pm
Wedding Ceremony: More Than Happy Event Wedding Services Ltd Beijing
Wedding gown design: Chen Weiwei
Material: Coffin, Wedding dress, birdcage, peace dove, Wedding ring，Flower ball
Photography: Yang Chao
Video: Wen Chen, Yu Hong
On 5 February 2009, a limousine decorated for a wedding was driven into the parking area outside the Wall Art Museum. To traditional Chinese funeral music, four young men lived a black coffin out of the vehicle, and carried it to the entrance of the Wall Art Museum. With an axe, one of the young men forced open the brass padlock of the coffin. The musicians switched to traditional wedding music, and a bride dressed in a wedding gown was perceived: Xiao Lu lying in the coffin. She sat up, and two men helped her out of the coffin. Flanked by two men, the bride entered the Wall Art Museum, and officiant Master of Ceremonies Guo Qiang conducted the wedding ritual.
MC: “Raise the large red letter for joy, let the red firecrackers burst, red hope is rising the red day is aflame! Distinguished leaders, distinguished guests, dear friends, ladies and gentlemen, a good evening to all of you!” ( Applause )
“On this very special day, which we may call a day of great happiness, we welcome a very special wedding: this is, a wedding of only one person! Now we ask the bride to take a step forward.”
Xiao Lu stepped forward.
MC: “ I ask you, Miss Xiao Lu, are you willing to become a wife, true to your own ideas, and even if the seas run dry and become mulberry fields, are you willing always to stay with yourself? Tell us loud and clear!”
Xiao Lu: “ I am willing !”
MC: “ Good! Miss Xiao Lu, before all of us today has made the promise to commit herself to love. Each friend present here is a witness of your love. Please give her another round of applause!” ( Applause)
“The bridal party today has a present for herself- a wedding ring. Please let the bride place this ring on the ring-finger of her left hand!”
Xiao Lu placed the ring on her ring-finger.
MC: “The left ring-finger is the one closest to the heart, it is tightly attached, binding herself. Good! Please put on another ring, this one on the ring-linger of your right hand.”
Xiao Lu places the ring on her left ring-finger.
MC: “ The left ring-finger is the one closest to the heart, it is tightly attached, binding herself. Good! Please put on another ring, this one on the ring-linger of your right hand.”
Xiao Lu please another ring on her right ring-finger.
MC: “Good! Hold up both your hands and show everybody that you are married today!” (Applause)
“Now, at this sole and grand moment, we will ask our witness today, who is also our host, Mr Gao Minglu, to say a few words.” ( Applause )
Gao Minglu: “ Xiao Lu, congratulations, but i also feel very sad that you are marrying yourself. I wish you happiness, I wish that you may find love, I wish you a long vigorous life in art.” ( Applause )
MC: “Now we also have today a family member, Miss Xiao Lu’s younger sister Xiao Ge. Friend, please prolong the applause.” ( Applause)
Xiao Ge: “ Dear Sister, now that you have finally got married after all these years, I wish for you that you find the life that suits you best in marrying yourself. I wish you happiness and joy.”
Xiao Lu: “Thank you!”
MC( to Xiao Ge): “ I also wish you an early opportunity to find your own happiness!”
MC: “ I solemnly pronounce the wedding ritual of Miss Xiao Lu formally complete.” ( Applause)
“Today’s bride has prepared a pair of little lives, which she wishes to release to fly into the blue sky. Come! Bring out your doves! Friends, clear a path, The bride wishes to release them in the open.”
Xiao Lu raises a birdcage containing a pair of doves.
MC: “ Dear friends, May Xiao Lu fly to a more beautiful tomorrow with the dreams she has not realized in this life!”
The band again strikes up the wedding music, the bride raises the cage containing the white dove and the grey dove and places it on the coffin, She takes out the white dove.
MC: “May the blue sky witness, May the white clouds witness, may all the dear friends present witness together; by her own actions, she lets this dove fly towards a better tomorrow. The bride releases the white dove. It makes several short flights and alights on the ground. She then lets the dove fly. It spreads its wings and flies up and away. Finally, the bride tosses a bridal bouquet of white flowers skywards.
About “ Wedlock”
On 5 February 2009, at the “Twenty Years Anniversary of the China/Avant-Guade Exhibition”, I performance a wedding ceremony for myself at the “Wall Art Museum” in Beijing.
I was a bride without a groom, I placed the ring on my own finger. At last I wore a wedding gown. In the words of Gao Mangle’s letter of invitation: “At times one may be unable to change something in real life, but one day it may be possible.”
25 March 2009, Dongying Art District, Beijing.
At a conventional wedding ceremony for heterosexual for heterosexual couples, the artist staged a cross-casting performance of marrying herself to herself. With the cooperation of the marriage withness, the artist put rings on her left and right hand fingers respectively. symbolically completing the ring exchange ceremony between the bride and the groom. The artist singlehandedly accomplished the ceremony, which only exists within the power structure of heterosexual love contracts. The work casts doubt on and challenges the exclusivity of the power structure formed by hetersexual contracts.
- Tong Yujie