Presented by Shanghai Himalayas Museum and curated by Wong Shun-kit, Humanistic Nature and Society (Shan-Shui) – An Insight into the Future will be unveiled at Palazzo Ca’Faccanon as one of the collateral events of the 56th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale. The exhibition features three sections: Peach Blossom Spring – The Imagery of the Past, Metamorphosis – The Imagery of the Reality and Shan-Shui Society – The Imagery of the Future.
In Peach Blossom Spring – The Imagery of the Past, landscape paintings (high-resolution reproductions) by Xie Shichen (1487- 1567) and He Haixia (1908 -1998), two renowned Chinese landscape painters during the Ming Dynasty and modern times respectively, will be put on display, forming a prelude to the poetically intriguing Shan-Shui context that would elegantly remind people of the long-lasting pursuit for the harmonious state among man, nature and the society.
In the second section of the exhibition, Metamorphosis – The Imagery of the Reality, a contemporary and somehow conceptual picture of modern “landscape” will be presented. In Rubbing Drought, the seemingly abstract brushwork stands for the arid riverbed of the Yellow River, the “mother river” of China. The familiar and yet strange images remind people of the increasing deterioration of the environment. Likewise, Wang Jiuliang presents a different landscape of the cities and nature, a landscape of garbage. It takes viewers a closer look to realize that what constitutes the beautiful “landscape” is actually all garbage. Environmental problems are often closely related with the obvious fact seen in China – urbanization. Ni Weihua‘s photography and video installation show the skylines of China’s megacities, luxury buildings and lavish gardens, in front of which are those migrants who have flocked into the cities during the dramatic process of urbanization. Surrounded by the glory of cities, but at the same time, they are actually very far from urban life. The artist has kept a visual record of this somewhat absurd alienation of today’s urban China. The constant deconstruction and reconstruction have become a source of inspiration for Yang Yongliang. Under the surface of the seemingly natural landscape, it is the hustle and bustle of urban “cityscape” that dominates his work. Yangjiang Group (led by Zheng Guogu, Chen Zaiyan and Sun Qinglin) manages to bring a fragment of artificial nature into the exhibition hall through their visually stunning installation. Yuan Shun‘s installation and photography show a fantasy land featuring an abstract imagery of traditional Chinese landscape. It’s hard to tell whether these sci-fi-like pictures illustrate the ruin of the past or a vision of the future.
In Shan-Shui Society – The Imagery of the Future, the third section of the exhibition, artists/architects including Dai Zhikang, Chen Bochong and Ma Yansong share their vision of a future Shan-Shui society in a variety of forms including sketches, architectural model and dialogues, creating an inviting environment to engage people in the exploration of an unknown and yet charismatic future model of the society.
From the delineation of the natural landscape, to the probe into problems that are commonly faced by contemporary people, and then to the presentation of a humanistic approach with a somewhat futuristic touch, the exhibition intends to depict a constantly evolving imagery to inspire more reflection and cast light on an insight to the future in the language of visual art.
- Wang Jiuliang, Beijing Besieged by Waste 12, 2009. Courtesy of the artists and Shanghai Himalayas Museum
- Yang Yongliang, Artificial wonderland, 2014. Courtesy of the artists and Shanghai Himalayas Museum