From time to time an exhibition comes along that reaffirms my love of contemporary conceptual art.
On a recent trip to Vancouver (very pretty city) I had an opportunity to visit the Vancouver Art Gallery.
The exhibit I was impressed by 'House of Oracles: A Huang Yong Ping Retrospective'.
Huang Yong Ping is a Chinese artist who is considered to be one of the most influential contemporary artists out there.
His work is considered, intelligent and quirky; mixing eastern and western thought in a way that weaves together, contrasts and separates them; at times simultaneously.
Although many of the works are huge - elephants, dinosaurs and fighter planes - my favourite piece in the exhibit was small. It was piece that included mashed pieces of dried paper, that came from putting a Chinese religious text and a western religious text in the washing machine together. I won't go into a lengthy critique as to why I felt this was the perfect articulation of the 'brilliance in the simplicity' that I find in his work but I loved it.
There has also been some media regarding another of the pieces in the exhibit that had live insects and reptiles but I will refrain from wading into the media storm on that one.
To put it plainly THIS EXHIBIT ROCKED!
Here is what the Vancouver Art Gallery had to say about the artist and the exhibit:
House of Oracles is the first retrospective of Huang Yong Ping, one of the most influential contemporary Chinese artists working today. Showcasing paintings, drawings and sculptural installations that evoke the fun house, diorama and menagerie, the exhibition celebrates an artist whose work elegantly traverses the divide between East and West, tradition and the avant-garde.
Renowned for his extravagant large-scale installations, the exhibition will feature more than forty works, including a monumental sculpture that positions a snarling tiger atop an elephant, a 100-foot long wooden python skeleton and the re-creation of a Beaux Arts-style bank using 40,000 pounds of sand. In addition to these spectacular installations, the exhibition includes significant early works from the artist’s career, reflecting his interest in ideas on chance, creative process and divination.
Born in Fujian Province, China in 1954, Huang Yong Ping formed the Xiamen Dada group in 1986. One of the most radical of the Chinese avant-garde artists’ groups active at the time, members were inspired by their interest in the work of Marcel Duchamp, Dada and the role of chance in art. The group’s subsequent activity, particularly Huang Yong Ping’s artistic production, are often considered among the first post-modern works in Chinese art and are credited for opening new channels for other Chinese artists, who until that time were predominantly influenced by the conventions of Socialist Realism.
Since his participation in the seminal exhibition Magiciens de la Terre at the Pompidou Centre in 1989, Huang Yong Ping has lived and worked in Paris and exhibited extensively around the world.
Organized by Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Curated by Philippe Vergne, deputy director and chief curator, Walker Art Center, and made possible by generous support of Altria Group, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, étant donnés: The French-American Fund for Contemporary Art, and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.