Meng Huang started to work on his series Distance (2011-2013, oil on canvas, sizes ranging from 38 × 46 cm to 220 × 400 cm) in 2010. In his railway-themed paintings he explored his understanding of German culture, as well as his feelings about it. Meng Huang is able to express his notions of Germany through these images of railway tracks. These functional objects, especially their straight lines, bring forth his memories of childhood.

Sue Wang | Cafa Art Info


(…) I like trains, I like rails and roads and I always hope something will carry me away” Meng Huang told me one day while sitting on a coach that was driving us from Zhengzhou to Kaifeng, places where he spent his childhood and youth. He told me that when he was a child he lived for some time near the railway and he would often get on the train that took people to work from end to end of Zhengzhou, China’s most important railway junction. He led me to the fenced area of the freight station, a huge place, quite isolated from the rest of the world, a very peculiar and

fascinating reality for its run down look, and the colourful humanity of its urban proletariat. Meng Huang would laugh while describing to me the flowery Henan dialect of the ordinary people in that place. For Meng Huang ordinary commuter trains, like the one from the outskirts to the city, hide the wealth of open horizons, in motion, following one another. (…)

Monica Dematté | Anguillara Sabazia | March 23 | 2006 | Translated by Silvana Dematté

Philosophische Überlegungen zu Meng Huangs Distance Serie


Leere Räume können eigentlich nicht für Wahl- oder Handlungsfreiheit stehen, Freiheit setzt immer etwas voraus, eine Alternative, eine Struktur.

Meng Huangs Räume enthalten Landschaften und Gebäude oder technische Anlagen, insbesondere Schienen geben den Weg vor. Alternativen – und damit Freiheit – ergeben sich hier nur an Weichenpunkten (die auf manchen Bildern der Distance Serie zu sehen sind). Doch eigentlich können Schienen und Weichen nur eingeschränkt ein angemessenes Symbol für Wahl- oder Handlungsmöglichkeiten sein, denn die sind viel komplexer. Sie können jedoch ein Symbol für eine Richtung, einen vorgegeben Weg, ein Streben oder eine Sehnsucht sein.

In Meng Huangs Serie ist kein Ziel zu sehen, es liegt, wenn es eines gibt, jenseits des Horizonts, in der Distanz. aber man weiss, dass Schienen irgendwohin führen. Hier liegt die kindlich-fernsüchtige Vorstellung nahe, dass sie zwangsläufig an einen interessanteren oder besseren Ort führen, man müsste ihnen nur folgen können. Vielleicht ist angedeutet, dass die Unterwerfung unter den Zwang der Schiene – also ein freiwilliges Aufgeben von negativer Freiheit (etwa im sinne des Verzichts auf Streben nach persönlichem Glück oder Wohlstand) – notwendig ist, um zu einem besseren, (im positiven Sinne) freieren, offenbar aber noch weit entfernten Ort jenseits des Horizonts zu gelangen.

Wolf-Jürgen Cramm Luzern, November 2014

Considerations on Meng huang’s distance series

Empty spaces cannot actually represent the freedom to choose or the freedom to act. Freedom always requires an alternative, a structure.

Meng huang’s spaces contain landscapes, buildings, or technical facilities; train tracks, especially, are featured. Tracks predetermine the way. Alternatives—and hence, freedom—arise in places where the tracks fork at switch ties (which can be seen in some of the pictures in the series). There are limitations, however, to the appropriateness of train tracks and switch points as symbols of the freedom to choose or to act, because the latter are far more complex. Still, tracks can symbolize a direction, a predetermined path, an ambition, or a yearning. There is no visible goal in Meng Huang’s Distance series; if there is one, it lies beyond the horizon, in the “distance.”

But you know that train tracks lead somewhere. this recalls a childish notion of distant adventures, when you imagine that tracks must necessarily lead to a more interesting or better place—all you have to do is be able to follow them. Perhaps there is an indication that being subjected to the compulsion of the tracks—the voluntary surrender of negative freedom (such as giving up striving for personal happiness or wealth)—is necessary in order to get to a better, freer (in the positive sense), yet obviously still far-distant place beyond the horizon.

Wolf-Jürgen Cramm Lucerne, November 2014