SONG Dong

06.12.2015 - 12.03.2016

[Detail. For a full view, click on the picture] SONG DONG, Waste Not, MoMa New York, 2009, courtesy BTAP/ Tokyo Gallery

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.


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