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Stairway Walker - A Tribute to Marcel Duchamp
1996
BY
Shi Jin-Hua
1996
1996
1996
1996
1996
1996
01 / 10

I put the 9-meter-high spiral iron stairs in the courtyard of Claire Trevor School of the Arts at University of California, Irvine. The stairs have no plates but only the iron structure. The performance artist is naked, wearing a pair of rubber boots. Each sole of the boots is attached with a triangle plate in the shape of the stair plate. The artist is holding a stick in one hand, which has a tiny red circle on it, to cover his private parts. He walks up and down repetitively. In every step he takes, he is trying to put the plates which are attached to his boots into the iron frames of the stairs. After spending one hour walking up and down in this way, he walks away from the stairs and throws the red circle to the audience to end the performance art.

In Stairway Walker - A Tribute to Marcel Duchamp, I attempt to create a conversation with Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase. Throughout the art history, women have always been objectified as the “objects” to be depicted. Therefore, I come up with the idea that it should be men’s turn to walk the stairway. It is like self-mockery as I place a “man” in an embarrassing situation. The man climbs up the stairway, while in every ridiculous step he takes, the plates under his feet are lodged into the framework of the stairway. However, the man has to walk down in the end. The black iron stairs symbolize humans’ behavior conditioned by the social system. We are walking into the conventional structure of the system. As we climb up to the peak, we are destined to walk down from it. It is the ridiculous absurdity of life that our pursuit is ultimately in vain. We walk, but we are still where we have started. The helpless fragility is reluctantly revealed, showing the bitterly laughable truth of our life. There is no escape from such a metaphor of life.

ARTISTS
10 artworks / 42 exhibition
Performance Art
Shi Jin-Hua’s performance art works can be divided into two major categories – pen walking and measuring. When he performs the action of “pen walking,” each pen and each stroke become the metaphor of human life as well as all what they have ...
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Shi Jin-Hua, 2008, Performance Art
Shi Jin-Hua, 2001, Performance Art
Shi Jin-Hua, 1996, Performance Art
Shi Jin-Hua, 2004, Performance Art , Video Art
Shi Jin-Hua, 2004, Performance Art
Shi Jin-Hua, 2008, Performance Art
Shi Jin-Hua, 2004-2008, Performance Art , Video Art
Shi Jin-Hua, 2008, Performance Art
Shi Jin-Hua, 2010, Performance Art