The Shanghai Art Factory That’s Constructing Massive Public Artworks
36 chromogenic prints total
Performance view: Keepers of the Waters: Public Art concerning Water, Lhasa, Tibet, August 18 – 19, 1996.
Image rights: Photo: courtesy the artist and Pace Gallery
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Promised Gift of Cynthia Hazen Polsky.
In his wide-ranging practice, Song Dong explores ideas of memory, impermanence, and the value of human expression within the context of China’s rapidly changing society. In 2005 he first exhibited Waste Not, an installation showcasing more than 10,000 objects accumulated by his late mother—everything from pots to shoes to toothpaste tubes. The mass of what is essentially garbage is intended to show the small details of a human life and reference the futility of existence, a frequent theme in his performances, installations, videos, and paintings. Song sums up his worldview in the central maxim of his practice: "That left undone goes undone in vain; that which is done is done still in vain; that done in vain must still be done."
Chinese, b. 1966, Beijing, China, based in Beijing, China