Qiu Zhijie’s work is inspired by political, historical and philosophical narratives from cultures and places around the world. He draws
his ideas from a wide variety of sources: from Confucianism, Buddhism, Platonism, and Islam, to the Enlightenment and Marxism, among
others. Combining these references with a style drawn from traditional Chinese ink painting and calligraphy, he creates large, complex, labyrinthine maps and diagrams, in the form of ink drawings,
questioning the existing assumptions about our world history and the expectations about its future. His complex maps unfold as a labyrinth of
interconnected ideas and ideologies, and provide insight into his worldview and concerns, such as social fragmentation and transience, humanity, existence and death. He sees the world as chaotic, and ruled by chance, fate and destiny, with only short moments of order and self-assertion.
Making maps is thus a way of creating meaning by establishing relationships between objects, ideas, space, and time, as well as a way of “resisting the madness of the world” and of attempting to create an optimistic view from a pessimistic point of departure. The Map of Fate is influenced by Buddhism, as an intelligent form of pessimism, but also by Nietzsche as the philosopher of the will to power, and as being a life-affirming optimist. The Map of Revolutionary Circulation shows the process of how revolutions develop into success, turn into decadence, and finally change into privatisation and democratisation. The capitalist process is charted on the right part of the map: evolving from free competition to monopoly, then to polarisation between the rich and the poor and class struggle, and finally ending with revolution and utopia.
Through these intricate meanderings that muse on all the essential questions governing life, Qiu Zhijie points to alternative ways of looking at history and society. By creating original and playful viewpoints, pathways, landscapes, relationships and ideas he prompts us to think how the contemporary world might be if we had once chosen otherwise, as well as re-routing the social imaginary towards the fact that
things can also be different.