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The Venice Biennale Pavilions 2011: China

Cai Zhisong "Artificial Clouds" installation view, outside the Chinese Pavilion "Pervasion", Arsenale Venice Biennale 2001. HUMA3
Cai Zhisong "Artificial Clouds" installation view, outside the Chinese Pavilion "Pervasion", Arsenale Venice Biennale 2001. HUMA3
Yang Maoyuan, All Things are Visible, installation view at the Chinese Pavilion "Pervasion", Venice Biennale 2001. HUMA3
Yang Maoyuan and his work "All Things are Visible" Chinese Pavilion "Pervasion", Venice Biennale 2001. HUMA3
Pan Gongkai "Rong" Installation view Chinese Pavilion "Pervasion", Venice Biennale 2001. HUMA3
Pan Gongkai "Rong" Installation view (detail) Chinese Pavilion "Pervasion", Venice Biennale 2001. HUMA3
         
 
The curator of the Pavilion is Peng Feng, vice dean of the aesthetics and educational research center at the University of Peking, and has selected five single-artistist who present five installations.
 
PERVASION, the name of the show, is strongly associated with the country's cultural tradition (as opposed to the west's traditional focus on aesthetics): tea, lotus, liquor, incense and herbal medicine. The concept of five tastes, sweet, sour, bitter, pungent and salty, is one aspect of the five elements theory – the ancient belief that all things are composed of metal, wood, water, fire and earth. The artists in turn apply this to create exhibits that tantalize the five senses. The displays are all interpretations of this year's biennale theme, "ILLUMInations."
 
Pan Gongkai will represent the lotus, Liang Yuanwei, liquor; Yang Maoyuan, medicine, Cai Zhisong, tea and Yuan Gong incense and herbal medicine.
 
Pan Gongkai's Rong (Melting) is a 20-meter-long low-temperature corridor filled with lotuses, a symbol of austerity in Chinese culture. On the walls are Pan's ink-paintings of lotuses, onto which are projected images from On the Border of Western Modern Art, symbolizing cultural coexistence.
 
Liang Yuanwei's work, I Plead: Rain, is a liquid-cycle device that drops huangjiu, a low-proof yellow drink made from fermented grain, into a sink in an endless loop.
 
All Things are Visible, Yang Maoyuan's contribution, is a host of porcelain pots filled with herbal medicines like fengyoujing and huoxiang zhengqi shui, common remedies for summertime ailments.
 
Cai Zhisong huge "artificial clouds". His white-painted tumbler-like devices are made of steel and house wind chimes and tea. When rocked by the wind, the clouds emit the scent of tea and the sound of the wind chimes to create what Cai describes as a "dreamy, Zen-Buddhist atmosphere."
 
Yuan Gong's Empty Incense is a device which combines incense and electronics. The scent is dispersed from nine sources to permeate the pavilion. Light fog is shown on an MP4 player and iPad. The display is inspired by Zen Buddhist teachings that form is emptiness and emptiness is form.
 

 

 

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