Zhuang Hui & Dan’er at UCCA Dune Opening Exhibition: After Nature

2018.10.13 - 2019.4.7
UCCA Dune, Aranya Gold Coast

Participating Artists
Li Shan, Liang Shaoji, Liu Yujia, Nabuqi, Yang Xinguang, Trevor Yeung, Yu Ji, Zheng Bo, Zhuang Hui & Dan’er

In his book, Escapism, Chinese-American geographer and founder of humanistic geography, Yi-Fu Tuan, makes the point that human beings built cities to escape nature’s mercilessness, yet, finding themselves imprisoned by the noise of cities, yearned return to nature; that they invented science to escape the chaos of thoughts, yet faced with its unbearable dullness, longed for a nature that freed them.

Accompanying economic and social development, a series of disparate changes has emerged in the relationship between nature and the individual. For people on either extreme of developmental strata, nature means a livelihood, taken for granted, or the fantasy of the good life, comprised of expensive vacations, escapes from the metropolis—or, to residents of developing cities, it means a concept split from the present moment, a fragmented memory, or even a constructed, artificial landscape. In the backdrop of China’s breakneck urbanization in the last 30 years, myriad artists have served as witnesses to this split.

As biotechnology matures, making deeper interventions into nature, and as ecological crises become more and more common, this exhibition attempts to reinstate a fluid relationship between nature and technology. The exhibition presents a group of artists of different backgrounds, who express individual—or epochal—ways of understanding and being with nature, as well as the deep ethical concerns underlying these relations.

Zhuang Hui  Dan`er, Leftover material from the Carpenters, 2009, resin, acrylic, variable dimension     

Usually when people make use of certain material, they would often take what's useful to them, and discard the "useless" part. In other words, people are inclined to abstract value from their limited experience while overlook to make the "useless" space useful.  Our recent work Leftover material from the Carpenters are replicas of 27 pieces of leftover bits and pieces by carpenters. They are pieces molded with clay and then casted with fiberglass into 5 times of their original size. Then the replicas were coated in acrylic to mimic the original texture of the wood. These "useless" trimmings were cut off in unique shapes depending on requirements for their "useful" counterparts, moreover, the writ large sculptures thus offer the audience a new perspective on viewing objects.