On April 21, 2018, the International Art Exhibition Martgaged Time opened at Red Gate Gallery in Beijing 798. The exhibition was curated by German curators Raimund Rosarius and Susanne Matz. The theme of the exhibition was to commemorate German poets Bachmann and Paul Zelan to oppose all forms of violence. Li Xinmo did a performance Drink Blue. This performance comes from Paul Celan's poem "I AM THE FIRST":
I AM THE FIRST to drink of the blue that still looks or its eye
I drink from your footprint and see:
You roll through my fingers, pearl, and you grow!
You grow, as do all the forgotten.
You roll: the black hailstone of sadness
Is caught by a kerchief turned white with waving goodbye.
(Translated by Michael Hamburger.)
On the ground in the center of the space, there is a glass jar filled with clear water, with white bones piled up beside it. Li Xinmo picked up the bones one by one and placed them around the glass jar, forming a cross. Finally, she put the skull in the water and put it at the bottom of the glass jar. she lifted a bag of rice, and the grains flowed down and spilled on the ground and on the white bones. She crawled on the ground covered with rice grains, picked up the bones one by one with her mouth and put them in the glass jar until the last one. Then she took out a bottle of blue powder. she poured the blue powder into her mouth and immersed her head in the water. She recited Celan's poem "I am the first one" in the water. The blue in her mouth soaked into the water, and there was some blue in the water. she was choking constantly, lifting her head off the water, drinking blue again, and immersing herself in the water again to read the poem. By the end, the water had turned blue. Through the glass jar, people could see white bones soaked in blue water.
The white bone in the performance is the death image of the poems in Celan. The white bone is covered by the white rice, which contains a cruel history of the Great Famine in China. For political reasons, tens of millions of people died of hunger. And immersion is a cruel punishment, with the head pressed into the water, choking and suffocating. Kneeling on rice is also a punishment for the body - she kneels on rice crawling, holding up human bones. The performance involves the improvisation of music and dance by the musician Fanny and dancer Amy. With dark black music and slow steps, the performance unfolded slowly. This performance combines poetry, installation, music and dance to form a performance theater.