“Humans’ relationship to our environment has changed, and this change has affected our way of thinking.”

Born 1981, Taiyuan, Shanxi

Many Chinese collectors keep their possessions in square boxes, Guo Fei says, so when he was looking for “a completely different style”, he decided to put his works in boxes too. “It’s like making a collection of memories,” he explains—only his wooden boxes are shut, their front surfaces painted to mimic an open interior. He adds sound because it “makes the memory more real and convincing”. Boxes (2009) is his “animal collection”; Be Quiet, Autumn, and The Silence You Can Hear (2010) all capture memories of the artist’s childhood. “I grew up in a small village,” Guo Fei says. “I played with insects and birds every day. All I could see was nature. Now, when I go back to my home village, it’s a big town. All I can see are buildings. Everything is artificial. I used to think we humans were part of nature, but now it’s the opposite—nature has become part of the human realm. Nothing is simple or natural about this society.”

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