On the floor below is Mr. Fool Wants to Move the Mountains (2018), which consists of three large piles of sand and a fleet of eight vacuum robots pointlessly attempting to suck them up. The piece’s title references a folk story about an old man who decides to remove two mountains sitting in front of his residence, digging at them every day until divine providence intervenes to move them for him. In English, this four-character idiom, “愚公移山,” is sometimes loosely translated to “where there’s a will, there’s a way,” an ethos that resonates all too well with de Sarthe Beijing’s current predicament.
Generally speaking, the artists that de Sarthe represents have found success. Shanghai-based
, who last exhibited at the gallery’s Beijing space in 2017, has a show touring K11 art centers
at the moment. Hong Kong artist
has a show opening in August at K11 in Shanghai; he’d had a show scheduled to open at de Sarthe Beijing the week before, but that has been postponed.
After loading out all of their artists’ works by the end of next week, de Sarthe Beijing will immediately begin searching for a new space elsewhere in the city, according to director Nessa Cui. As someone who has grown accustomed to Beijing’s rapid pace of urban flux, the eviction notice, coming after months of speculation, almost came as a relief to Cui. She says that the city’s “constant change” is why de Sarthe is here in the first place, and will keep them here despite this relocation.