To the Left of the Rising Sun  
Image: Zhao Liang, Heavy Sleepers (2008)


Heavy Sleepers (2008)
Video installation
Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, Stockholm
18 May – 24 August, 2008

In preparation for the Olympic Games massive constructions are taking place in Beijing. When the constructions began in the neighbourhood of the artist, he began to film the workers.
       The video installation Heavy Sleepers allows us to enter into a quiet room where construction workers are taking a nap. A fly is buzzing, someone is moving sleepily. On the opposite wall of the installation the same room is projected, only this time without the sleepers. We are invited to observe the workers’ few belongings in what serves as their temporary home.
       The video is a comment on current circumstances for the construction workers. The work force consists mainly of male labourers from small villages, where their families most often remain. The workers live under harsh conditions that, in any case, are perceived as presenting better opportunities than the lives they left behind. Nobody knows what will happen to the workers once construction is done and the Games are over.
       Zhao Liang was born in Dandong in Liaoning province in 1971 and now lives in Beijing. He is best known as a documentary filmmaker but also works with video installations and photography. His prize-winning films have portrayed street and police violence in China and he has followed a Beijing-based artistic cooperative. He also filmed in the no-man’s-land between North and South Korea where he grew up. Zhao Liang’s works have been shown at numerous international venues; at festivals, biennials and galleries.