Midnight Sudden Wind, 2018, is a painting from a body of work that explores the realities of life in rural China. These works document the involuntary relocations of entire villages to make way for ambitious infrastructure development. Their compositions are populated by individualized, contemporary figures that inhabit a landscape in perpetual transition. Suspended between modernity and tradition, the village becomes a metaphor for community. The ghosts of ancestors and animal-like folkloric figures that intermingle with these present-day villagers act as potent reminders of the time-honored cultural traditions endangered by this march towards “progress.”
"The residents of Village Wen were forced to demolish their own homes and moved into temporary tents. All their belongings were packed and left on the empty grain-drying grounds by the wheat field. At midnight a strong wind suddenly blew all their things—tables, chairs, cabinets, big bags, and small bags—up into the air. Finally, the wind died down and everything slowly settled. Miraculously, nothing was broken.
Until June, it hadn’t rained for months in Village Wen. The dried riverbed grew full of weeds. Villagers harvested nothing. Thirteen days later it finally rained. Raindrops in the size of green beans hit the roadside camphor trees, making sounds like roasted sesame seeds bursting open.
The village secretary finally fell ill. He slept all day, then woke up in sweats saying that the village head was an important officer in the underground, and that the head asked him to take charge of demolition in the Village Wen. When there was any resistance, the secretary had to force the evictions. There were a lot of poor ghosts in the underworld, and they haunted the secretary all day for an explanation.
Thirty miles away from Village Wen, when the river was flooded in the summer, some people saw a mirage of tall buildings with bright lights over the foggy water." - Yun-Fei Ji, August 2018