At Kunsthalle Zürich, Bing will be presenting two films: Mrs. Fang, (Fang Xiu Ying, 102 min. 2018, Golden Leopard 2017 for the cinema version) and Man with No Name (Wu Ming Zhe, 99 min., 2010). Both films focus on a single individual and that person’s fragile physicality. Bing follows Mrs. Fang and the man with no name with great immediacy and tenacious respect. Bing’s films are characterized by a careful intimacy, yet they are also committed to a hard realism. Among what has resulted from this approach are these two portraits that educate as well as challenge us.
Mrs. Fang follows the last ten days in the life of Chinese farmer Fang Xiu Ying, a 68-year-old woman with Alzheimer's disease. She returns to her small riverside hometown in southeastern Zhejiang Province in order to die there. She is surrounded by her family, relatives, and friends. Bing shows how people go about their everyday lives: illegal night fishing, as well as caring for the old woman, and discussing her and her life. Death and quotidian life are presented here side by side—and with great affection as well as a relentless candor rarely seen in film or in art; yet it is precisely this particular perspective that makes Mrs. Fang so extraordinary.
Man with no Name shows a man Bing encountered on a stretch of land outside Beijing while preparing for his first feature film. This nameless man literally lives underground, inhabiting a burrow and leading a life of self-sufficiency. Wang accompanies him through four seasons. Nothing and everything happens, every gesture becomes a kind of monument, nobody speaks, yet this is not a silent movie—sounds are everything. The result is an extraordinary portrait that reveals itself fully only through the patient gaze of the viewer.
“I am interested in the everyday life of these normal people and I don’t want to just repeat what the media has already shown. Usually these people aren’t given the right to express themselves—they are mute somehow; they have no voice. With my camera I give them the opportunity to finally speak out.”more