The Voyager’s Boat: Wandering the Terrain of History | Frieze

‘Na Yingyu: The Voyager’s Boat: Wandering the Terrain of History’, 2016, installation view, META Project Space, Shanghai  


Na Yingyu, ‘The Voyager’s Boat: Wandering the Terrain of History’
META Project Space
30 July – 30 September

A camera from below, possibly mounted on the ground, records a man standing in front of the White House. Dressed in a tall sun hat, a flamboyant shirt and shorts, he blends right in with the tourists around him. He reads aloud in Chinese: ‘1918, US intervened Soviet October in the Far East”. The lines come from a Chinese textbook called World History, which artist Na Yingyu carried with him on a road trip across America aboard a Greyhound bus, successively visiting monuments across the United States marking the historical events recounted in the chapters of his textbook. Mounted on dozens of miniature screens across the gallery, Na’s series of video performances mark his attempt to reconcile historical narrative between official accounts, lived experience and the America of his youthful imagination. Just another Chinese tourist reading America through the voice of World History, Na’s journey is an embodiment of the fact that political narratives — like personal, imagined ones — are very far from stable.