In 2009 at MoMA, the Chinese artist Song Dong exhibited a collection of objects: furniture, books, kitchen utensils, shopping bags, clothes, plastic bottles, shoes, empty toothpaste tubes; in fact, everything that had accumulated in his mother’s house in Beijing over a period of nearly 60 years.
His mother, Zhao Xiangyuan, lived in a tiny house with her husband and two children. She came from a wealthy family that lost everything when one of its members was imprisoned as an anti-Communist spy, and lived through the poverty of the 60s and the Cultural Revolution. She was obsessively frugal and refused to throw anything away, or move out and part with her possessions, until Song Dong proposed an art project to meaningfully recycle and preserve them. Continue reading “Collecting, hoarding and making art”
“I work with things we use every day, and I try and turn them into art” he says. “Plastic doesn’t decompose. Even when it’s old, it looks like new, and it’s recyclable. That’s why I call plastic my ‘master'”.
I’m a big fan of Rebecca Baumann’s work. Last year I loved her Automated Colour Field at ACCA, an installation of 100 flip clocks with pages of coloured paper. This was a beautiful contemplative artwork, constantly changing as the coloured pages randomly flipped over. In November last year I saw her golden curtain of tinsel, Untitled Cascade, animated by a small domestic fan, at West Space. It reminded me of a theatrical curtain or a backdrop from a cheesy TV game show. She’s also created a confetti machine and used exploding balloons filled with confetti and coloured smoke bombs in her installations. Her work is really fun and beautiful and she’s interested in the relationship between colour and emotion.