If “The New Normal” was something of an inside joke about UCCA’s funding troubles, the inaugural exhibition at UCCA Dune also plays, in a way, with the contradictions between the museum’s natural setting and the fact that it’s also part of a massive real estate development. Entitled “After Nature” (自然后), the show suggests that human activity—including the cranes, coal stacks, and concrete mixers so ubiquitous in China—is now inseparable, climatically, and even geologically, from nature.
“The idea is that we’re past the moment of nature as an abstract concept that’s distinct from culture or urban life,” Tinari said. “It’s omnipresent now, in that Anthropocene interventions have rendered that romantic view of sublime nature irrelevant.”
The development that UCCA Dune is a part of, the Aranya Gold Coast Community, has similarly engineered “naturalness” between its apartment buildings, hotels, and Tuscan-style villas. (The only birds I saw there, for instance, were sculptures mounted to beautify the grounds.) That’s a paradox that the show, which features works by nine Chinese artists born between 1942 and 1988, confronts head-on.