The Kunsthalle Düsseldorf is dedicating a comprehensive retrospective exhibition to the previous oeuvre of the Chinese artist SONG Dong (b. 1966 in Beijing, lives and works there).
SONG Dong is among China’s best-known internationally active artists and is considered one of the most important proponents of Chinese Conceptual Art since the 1990s. His artistic practice encompasses numerous mediums and experimental working methods.
Based on biographical experiences, the artist addresses the
constitutive impact on the life of the individual made by economic and political conditions. His works are characterised by an expressive visual language that subtly provides concrete descriptions of the often difficult living situations. By always selecting a personal access, he provides viewers with possibility to identify with these conditions.
Presented for the first time at Beijing in 2005 and later at the MoMA in New York, as well, the large-scale installation Waste Not is the highlight of the show. The installation consists of a wooden house and more than 10,000 household items belonging to his parents, this piece not only provides a very intimate look at the artist’s family history but also documents an important aspect of Chinese cultural history. Hoarding things was initially a necessity because of the critical economic and political situation, it later developed into an obsession for Song’s mother after her husband’s death that served as a means of repressing her sense of loss and loneliness. Song actively integrated his mother and other family members.
As a conceptual artist Song explores such topics as time and transience, memory and loss, the past and the present as well as the relationship between emptiness and abundance, the inner and outer world. Special significance is given to Taoism, which focuses on the inescapability of change and the here are now. This is particularly the case in such works as his Doing Nothing Garden, which was shown at dOCUMENTA (13), or his Water Diary and Eating the City, both of which are likewise on show at Kunsthalle.
Curators: Mark Wilson, Sue-an van der Zijpp and Gregor Jansen
The exhibition and catalog are a joint production with the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands.