Tiyu Xilu Station, Guangzhou
Xiaozhou Village, Guangzhou
duration depending on the mood of the Chinese police
Zanon performs (u) unannounced and without inviting audience in public spaces all around China. Some of these places are tourist hotspots, others are streets, parks, metro stations, shopping malls or universities. People surrounding the artist are both locals and tourists. They are either working in the streets, passing by or riding their cars or motorcycles.
In urban summer, the umbrella is a very important object for Chinese women. It protects its owner from heavy rainfalls but is more often used as a protection from sunbeams. Fair skin is a beauty symbol that signalises wealth in the upper class and even leads to better job opportunities. The artist´s outside view of cultural characteristics and habits is made visible for locals by multiplication of a striking element.
A radius of about one meter surrounding a person is in the United States as well as in northern and central European regions defined and most of the time also accepted as the personal space. In the urban areas of China this space is much smaller. Deriving from the need to make that loss visible, the umbrellas are used not only as a symbol for that personal space but also as a physical border.
As a foreigner coming from a European country, Zanon attracts attention on the streets of Guangzhou. In China staring at other people is not seen as impolite and therefore a common habit. The face is the part of the body that´s mainly used to identify the human ethnicity. The umbrellas make the categorization of a foreign appearance possible only for the most courageous persons. A huge amount of curiosity is required from the passer-by to come closer and take a look into the small open parts between the umbrellas.