Horse and Rose, 2005

Horse and Rose, 2005
Wed, 09/08/2021 – 19:44

Horse and Rose is recorded in Chen’s dream journal as follows:

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Dream: July 17, 2005
I am alone and running as fast as I can. I almost crash into a car. On the dirt road ahead I see a horse-drawn cart. The cart is loaded up with flower pots. There are tropical plants with thorns and there are the usual roses. I can’t bring them back, so I don’t need to ask the price. I see that on the horse’s head is a big bouquet of roses. I don’t know if the flowers are to feed the horse or for decoration.


I have to meet my son; he is waiting for me at home. As I walk onward, I reach the entrance of a northern village where there is a great multitude of people gathered for market. People are selling things like tofu dregs, bottle caps, and dirty, wet towels. I don’t dare buy a flat-bread to eat there.


I get into a taxi and haven’t seen whether the driver is male or female. He drives and suddenly stops inside a room. There is a little pathway by a storefront. The people in the store are making cotton-padded pajama pants and tops. I take several pairs but they are all massive. Some are patterned with blue stripes, others with purple. I think to myself that I should make a pair to wear in the winter, but I am also afraid that the cloth is not clean.


The taxi driver parked here isn’t looking for fares, so why is it sitting here? His car can’t get out from here. He needs to back up, turn around and drive straight ahead. Am I worried that the car will hit me or that I will run into it first? He starts up the car and drives into the elevator. The buttons on that rickety old elevator are worn down and unclear, you can’t make out which is up and down. In the middle of driving in the driver discovers that this isn’t an elevator that cars can drive into. From the floor of the elevator there’s a part where you can see the laborers below at work. The car drives forward and falls into the pit below. So dangerous! As usual, the workers are breaking a sweat. The taxi driver has me show the way. The car can’t find the main gate from which to exit. I use my son’s mobile phone to call him. But the numbers are wrong. My son is at home waiting for me. This female taxi driver tells me she will only charge me 15 RMB. I tell her it’s OK.


Translated by Maya Kóvskaya


© Chen Haiyan, photo courtesy of the artist


Chen Haiyan
China, b. 1955
Horse and Rose, 2005
Ink and color on xuan paper
Promised gift of the Foundation Ink

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