The Second Public Art Exhibition in Nanhai

Artist: Various
Location: Qiandeng Lake Living Water Park, Guicheng, Nanhai District, Foshan City, Guangdong Province, China
Year: 2016
Research: Zhang Yujie

More and more sustainable public art projects are emerging in China's non-central cities, suburbs and even in the countryside. This is partly related to the growing desire of art organizers to find new ways for making art happen, and partly related to the expansion of the region's cultural and artistic ecology. The Nanhai Public Art Exhibition was born in this context.The venue of the exhibition, Qiandeng Lake Living Water Park, has established a harmonious interaction between human beings and the natural and human environment. The Qiandeng Lake Living Water Park is a product of the city's beautification planning and construction, with a clear and explicit function, i.e. as a rare green ecological landscape in the city for the public to move around and rest, so that they can have a better living experience. The exhibition well integrates public art with the local environment, and symbiosis with the landscape.The term "symbiosis" is originally a concept in the field of biology, used by urban sociologists to describe the relationships formed by groups of people in a fixed location, and later extended to the interdependence and balance of things in a larger spatial context.

The artist's work begins with a symbiosis with nature first. This is not only because the exhibition site is an outdoor green landscape, but also to find a way out of the tension between modern material life and nature in the process of industrialization and urbanization. Artist Cui Yi combines the visual modeling of dragon boats and paper cuttings from Foshan's traditional culture with the recycled steel bars left over from the urban renovation, presenting the transformational relationship between industry and nature; artist Junhao Duan's masterpiece The Golden Age uses recycled aluminum as the main material, showing that Nanhai is based on the foundation of the traditional industry, and is embracing the change and development of the new era with an inclusive and enterprising spirit, and openness...25 Artists excavate the local characteristic cultural symbols of Nanhai from multiple perspectives.

The work Spaceship is based on the old fishing boats of the North District Fishing Village, the last pure fishing village in the Nanhai. The boat and the wings open a dreamy linkage, implying that mankind and nature are a community of destiny that coexists in harmony. José Drummond's work The more you want to forget, the better you will remember is a quadrilateral steel columns integrate with the environment..This installation creates an absent reflective polished stainless steel monolithic vertical stone circle within the plaza, representing an immaterial image of time. It is a space to stop, contemplate, think and breathe, which is so needed in this fast paced contemporary world we live in. This project aims to provide a description of the world as a whole, rather than consisting of separate natural and social realms. It is not purely conceptual or purely artifactual. It is a site-specific installation of process-based research that redesigns the understanding of representation, object, subject, time, casualty, agency, emotion, and subjectivity in a world composed of interrelated entanglements of concept and matter.

Zhongwang Fu's Fit the original use of mortise and tenon structure is very familiar to the Chinese, and the Nanhai is one of the birthplaces of the inheritance of Cantonese furniture. Although the sculpture does not have a clear use value, the polished stainless steel, which has withstood the erosion of time is like a mirror that faithfully reflects the world around it, and inviting the viewer to enter it. It reflects the coexistence and symbiosis between human and nature, and human and society.

There are also many works that include public participation as an important part of the art. Jiang Shan's work With Together 2021 - Gift originated from the "With Together " art project he initiated, in which clay from 120 counties and districts is burnt into "With Together Marigolds", and QR codes are used to introduce the story of each piece of clay. Duoyun Wan 's Paper Toys incorporates paper-cutting elements into the practical functions of slides and swings, making it a favorite artwork for children. Yang Guang's Under the Shade of Green skillfully utilizes the trees in the park and the wok-shaped elements to create a space for people to rest and relax. The "With Together - Art Project" is an ongoing, open-ended, interactive art project, and a 2021 Foshan City Literary and Artistic Excellence Project.

Taking into account China's unique historical nodes and specific historical memories, the project aims to create a public artwork The Gift for the Qiandeng Lake City Park, which includes installations, videos, and ongoing interactive behaviors with the public. Through extensive online solicitation, representatives from 120 counties and districts from 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions across country, from all walks of life, completed video shoots of themselves and collected local soil. The Gift is based on Foshan ceramic culture, iron and steel technology (the metal structure of the work is made of 304 stainless steel), lighting technology and other industrial technologies, and synthesizes local cultural factors in Nanhai. The work tries to stimulate the discovery and reflection of the ordinary individuals through the cognition and practice of "the masses" as the subject of daily creative behavior. At the same time, through the use of "with together marble" made by blending the clay from various places and the local ceramic clay, and the planting and transplanting of saplings that tends to be ritualized, the work suggests that people can think about their own abstract relationship with nature through the attention paid to the concrete natural objects and the individual life.

Andy Lehtinen Nail Cube is a participatory project in which a wooden cube will be covered with nails with the participation and cooperation of the audience. The nailing is part of the work, which will last from the beginning of the exhibition until the end. Nailing is one of the simplest forms of craftsmanship that can be practiced, or at least easily learned, by almost everyone from children to adults. Over time, the visual appearance and material of the cube will change from wood to steel.

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Unlike first-tier cities, where there are more active contemporary art institutions and organizations, and long-term socially participatory art projects based in villages and integrated with rural revitalization and village construction, art practices that take place in second- and third-tier cities are relatively scarce in terms of meaning elaboration. Since these venues differ in terms of economic and cultural level and acceptance of contemporary art, the practices suitable for these venues should not be the same. The establishment of locally rooted public art exhibition mechanisms led by officials is currently a popular choice.This exhibition hopes to coexist and grow with the local landscape and community environment, thus forming a new ecology that is fluid and diversified. Today, when art and aesthetic education are strongly advocated, this exhibition tries to make public art here a "micro-intervention" rather than a grandiose and empty framework, so as to connect with the global concerns of green ecology, green economy and green culture, and at the same time to become a lifestyle for the people of the Nanhai. The excellent public art works will be closely linked with the Nanhai's urban construction, industrial development, and the happiness of the masses, so that the masses can participate in the colorful public cultural services, and let the beauty of art lead the public to improve their aesthetic cultivation, and drive the vitality of the whole city, highlighting the spiritual culture and urban charm of Nanhai , and enhancing the image and appeal of the Nanhai. More open and interactive public education activities will be organized during this exhibition, combining urban public services with cultural and aesthetic education.

Progress Agency