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Place(s) of work: Beijing (cn)
Born in Beijing in 1966, Song Dong graduated from the fine arts department of Capital Normal University there in 1989 and has since become a significant figure in the development of Chinese conceptual art. Part of Beijing's emerging but strong avant-garde performance art community, Song incorporates a number of artistic approaches in his work--including performance, photography, projection, video, and installation--to question notions of perception and articulate the ephemeral nature of existence and tradition. Bridging the divides between the poetic and political and the personal and universal, Song also uses art as a means of exploring or unlocking relationships with his family, the public, and even physical spaces or objects.
In his photographic series and short video pieces, Song addresses the fast-paced developments that are occurring in his country, capturing the transience of contemporary society. His 1998 piece Touching My Father is a video of an older Chinese man with a projection the artist's hand on his shoulder. "In my mind, I have no memory of touching or hugging my father," Song explains. The work explores the ingrained generational gap that exists in China regarding not only masculine roles but also technology. More recently, Song Dong has become well known for creating edible cities and landscapes out of biscuits, chocolate, meat, vegetables, and other foodstuffs. These elegant constructions are eventually destroyed as the audience participates in the performative act of eating the art, a process that invokes notions of decay, consumption, and density within cities.
Song's work has been presented all over the world, exerting a strong influence on artists in China and abroad.
Watch the creation and consumption of one of the artist's edible cities:
Watch the assembly at MoMA of Song Dong's "Waste Not" installation, which laid out thousands of used household materials that the artist's mother had obsessively hoarded over a span of decades:(read less)
Emerging Markets: Chinese Contemporary Art
Inspirations & Key Themes: Family, Memory, Taoism, tradition, transience
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