"The Importance of the Site" on Yuan Gong's Much More than 6000m3
Source:Artintern.net Author:Wang Lin Date: 2011-07-15 Size:
Yuan Gong's work has always given emphasis to its site, whether with performances and other artistic art events organized in Tibet, or his own site-specific installation and videos.

Yuan Gong’s work has always given emphasis to its site, whether with performances and other artistic art events organized in Tibet, or his own site-specific installation and videos. His sensitivity towards the site or the disaster, and the materials adopted for the artwork are all inspired by his own experience of the site. For instance, on the Wenchuan earthquake site, archaeological excavations and etc. which provides the historical and archival characteristics to the artwork from the very beginning. Furthermore, his use of the exhibition space, specifically of the conditions provided by the space, through destruction and alteration to transform the artwork and its hosting site, for instance, The Thirteen Glowing and Fallen Foxconn Light, Land Distribution in the Name of Art and etc; or the artist’s intervention and skepticism of the site coincidentally characterize the site, for instance, the work Money Tree at the Sackler Archaeological Museum in Peking University by using farming tools from the disaster struck region.

The artwork Yuan Gong is going to present at the China Pavilion on the 54th Venice Biennale, much more than 6000m3 has two apparent relevance: one is the relationship between the biennale’s theme Illumination with China Pavilion’s theme, Pervasion, bridged by his plan to disseminate mist throughout the space; two, the artist’s focus on the site of China Pavilion, namely, the Arsenale filled with large oil containers next to the Virgin Garden. Here, nothing would be comparably majestic to the existing industrial objects and mechanics, therefore, the artworks presented by previous Chinese artists in the past have left the audience with disappointments. Yuan Gong, having examined the site, had proposed a plan powered by the artist’s imagination and wisdom. With the eastern aesthetic mindset and bodily experience, and the potential embedded within the Eastern and Western industrial architectural structure, manifested through the reboot of illusions and taming of the finess. What’s worth noting is, Yuan Gong has infused Tibetan natural fragrance into the mists, providing specific regional flavor for this site. It does not only continue from his creative practice in the past, but most importantly, the unpredictable and free spirited philosophy and aspiring poetic atmosphere, as the Tibetan fragrance drifts throughout China Pavilion, how would the audience not sense the metaphor the artwork alludes to? Although the work challenges the state power may seem silent, yet it’s present. In the creative practice of contemporary art, realism has been reintroduced as a pursuit of value in artistic creation, and the representation of reality, is on the one hand projected through the artwork, the site, and its relationship with the viewers, on the other hand, revealed through realities of culture and politics. Being at the site, confronted with our circumstantial issues, projecting it through another channel are challenges faced by artist and his creative approach and wisdom.

I believe, Yuan Gong will live through this experience.

April 18, 2011

[Editor] Elemy Liu