Looking for material for my artistic work, I went to Shaoguan in Guangdong Province in 1999, in order to immerse myself in the life there. But when I painted an old. rundown chicken farm. I was amazed to notice pictures on a cloth of the windscreen wall with indistinct foreign letters. Presumably these pictures had been in the henhouse for years, they had already turned yellow, darkened and also become coated with chicken excrement. To establish the names on the pictures and checkthe originality of the pictures, I looked through a lot of material and often went to the local artists' association to get information. Finally I got a little information from the mouth of an old painter. It was true, he really had been there一Julian Schnabel, the famous painter of plates from America, had come to Danxiashan in 1980.It is said that, on arriving in China, the colours of the countryside were so variegated and so different it addled his brain and he was out of control when he paintedthese pictures. I couldn't contain my excitement and started work cleaning them very carefully and accurately.I brushed the chicken shit off and took the pictures out of the henhouse. In the sunlight, I noticed with amazement that his plum blossom, orchids, chrysanthemums and bamboos were copies of Qi Baishi. I was delighted he hadn't painted any Tibetan people to express the different conditions of a country, but immediately lost hope again when I saw that he'd painted young Uigur girls picking grapes.
It was also said that at the time Schnabel wanted to go on to India and across the sea to Burma, then on to Argentina and the Congo. On a long journey like that it was uncomfortable carrying a lot of works around.He also wanted to take some Ming furniture with him,so he left the pictures behind at the house of a friend.At the time, the Soviet style was very widespread,and members of the artists' association had no great opinion of the value of his pictures. Even today, some of them are still secretly wondering whether the shaping of the human figure is allowed. Then in the eighties his friend died unexpectedly of carbon monoxide poisoning .The pictures passed through many hands and ended up in the unit's warehouse. Later at the time of the economic reforms, the warehouse was rented to a chicken breeder...
I resolutely put down the predominant work at hand and immediately became absorbed in the work of cleaning and rescuing the pictures, from morning to night. As i worked, I was surrounded by cackling chickens, they ran up and down but didn't disturb me. I often thought how really good and sensible the chickens were.