Pushing boundaries

By Sun Ye ( China Daily ) Updated: 2013-11-08 13:24:00

Pushing boundaries

Works by Wang Meizhen from Taiwan are on display at the Beijing International Contempotary Metal Art Exhibition. Provided to China Daily

The Beijing International Contemporary Metal Art Exhibition encourages artists to think outside the box, creating works that are innovative and thought-provoking. Sun Ye reports.

The Beijing International Contemporary Metal Art Exhibition, now in its third year, opened on Monday with the theme "Pushing Boundaries and Chasing Challenges".

Pushing boundaries

Int'l Metal Art Exhibition held in Beijing

Pushing boundaries

Sculpting internal thoughts

It encourages breaking new ground in the use of material, concepts and in different disciplines of art.

The result is a room of 458 exhibits made of various metals, sand, mirrors, wood, leather, wild fungus, dried hawthorn, fossil and stone. There are not only wearable jewelry items, but also works of sculpture, installation and even performance art.

"We really want the exhibition to push into new boundaries, so we asked artists in advance to go out of their comfort zone and try new materials and methods," says Zhou Shangyi, curator and professor with the Academy of Arts and Design at Tsinghua University.

"Most people assume that metal artworks are either mechanical or only serve as decorative jewelry.

"But it can be welded into a set piece the size of a sculpture."

In the exhibition the works bridge various categories of art.

"Metal has expanded into public art, conceptual art, art education. It has also merged different cultures and raw materials," says Lu Xiaobo, president of the academy.

Nanna Melland from Germany has contributed a wall of aluminum brooches in the shape of airplanes. These little flat airplanes will be purchased, played with and worn by buyers in different corners of the world.

"That's a case of metal meets performance art," Zhou says.

Ingjerd Hanevold, professor at Oslo National Academy of the Arts, has bound wood, silver and colorful paints together to form abstract twigs representing a ballerina and wilted flowers.Pushing boundaries

"We have to break away from long-held concepts when the world changes so fast now," she says.

"The only solid ground to all our art is, what does it mean to be human in our time."

Many of the Chinese entries have been created by college students studying in art institutes.

"For them, it's also a good lesson on creative ideas and advanced techniques," Zhou says.

"The special quality of the material's texture, physical property, as well as the casting, forging process make metal art hard to master."


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