Public Art Project

Gui Tuo Bei (Move the Mountain by Fool)
2001, Stone, 252 x 98 x 77 inches(640 x 250 x 195 cm)
Institute Horizontal Collection,
Installed in City of Brumadinho, State of Minas Gerais, Brazil


Move the Mountain by Fool
(Story by Lie Zi from "Lie Zi. Tang Wen Section", Wrote around 460 B.C. Warring States Time.)

Between the south of Yi Zhou and the north of Han Shui, there used to be two mountains, one was called Tai Hang, other was Wang Wu. Both were very huge, hundreds miles around, thousands feet high. A old man, called Fool, almost 90, lived in the north of the mountains. Since his house faced the mountain, it was inconvenient for his family to go out. They had to walk all around the mountains for each trip. So Fool intended to move the mountains.

He summoned all of his children coming to plan. "Tai Hang and Wang Wu are blocked our way. How annoying it is. What about we flat the mountains, then open a road directly to Han Shui. What are your opinions?" . All of his descendants agreed with his opinion. Only his quite aged wife worried a bit and said, "You are too old to even move a branch. How come you would move the two mountains? Besides, where are we going to put the soil and rocks?"

However, all descendants were supporting the old man and said that the soil and rocks could be thrown into the Bo Sea Bay.

The plan was settled. Right the next day, Fool took his sons and grandsons and grand-grandsons to the mountains with baskets and hoes. A little kid, from their neighbor, only 7, who’s mother was a widow, went with them for helping. They carried soil to the Bo Sea Bay, which was so far that one trip took three months. But nobody gave up.

There was a man, called Smart, who heard of this and went to see Fool. "Stop doing such silly thing right now! It appears as if you don’t know how old you are and how many days you might only have. You’d better don’t even think of a touch for the mountains."

Fool deeply sighed, "You are such a short-sighted man. Moving the mountains is not for me, but for the descendants. If it wouldn’t be fulfilled in my hands, I have sons. My sons have their sons and so on. When we keep doing one generation after another, the mountains, however, stay the same without any growing. With each generation’s effort, the mountains would be less and less until all of them go."

Smart was wordless.

The god of mountain was very scared when he heard of this and reported God. God was so moved by Fool’s determination that he sent goddess’s two sons to carry the two mountains away. One was put in the east of Shuo Zhou, another was in the south of Yong Zhou. Since then, no mountains separated between the south of Yi Zhou and north of Han Shui.