Statues of no limitations

Updated: 2013-10-20 08:14

By Wu Ni in Shanghai (China Daily)

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Sculptures in public spaces reveal the aesthetic taste of a city. In Shanghai, an exhibition of 80 works created by college students from more than 20 art schools around China showcases the talent of the nation's future artists.

The works are now on display at the Shanghai Sculpture Space, a public art gallery built out of the old deserted factory buildings of the Shanghai No 10 Steel Factory. The 1,000-square-meter workshop itself awes visitors with the mottled red-brick wall and huge rusty steel skeleton implying past industrial glory.

The works reveal the young sculptors' reflection on nature, humans and society - many in a critical way.

A conspicuous sculpture outside the workshop shows a headless man playing golf on a bar-code shaped track. And the golf ball is the man's head. The work by Wu Rongpeng, a senior student in the China Academy of Art, is a reflection on how consumerism flooding Chinese society makes people numb and insensitive.

"The head is the most important sensory organ in humans. (Here) it is struck like a golf ball. I hope visitors can think about the relationship between humans, desire and society," Wu says.

In the center of the workshop, a golden sculpture is hung upside down from the ceiling. The work features a modern city, filled with skyscrapers and constructions. To echo the hanging steel city, a mirror is installed on the ground, reflecting the city's image from another angle. The creator Hu Shaoming, a student in the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, says that he wants to express the reality that the city and life have been governed by steel in the name of modernity, and Chinese tradition has been fading and suppressed.

An innovative art piece is a painting piano, which is also a public art project for charity aiming to help the hearing-impaired. The piano is connected with an automatic painting system, which will spray different colors of paint on a drawing board according to the rhythm played by the piano.

Hearing-impaired people are invited to join and play the piano and the works have been auctioned to raise money to buy hearing aids for hearing-impaired children in poverty.

"Although the hearing-impaired could not hear the music, they actually see the colors produced by the sound, and in this interactive way audiences could see the colorful insides of this often neglected group," says creator Wang Haochen, a senior student at the China Academy of Art.

Statues of no limitations

The art project was displayed this April in Shanghai, and two paintings were sold for 6,000 yuan ($980). Wang hopes more charity organizations and volunteers can join the project.

Xie Lin, an organizer of the exhibition, says the works by the university students embody the vigorous creativity of the young generation. Some excellent works will be displayed in public spaces in the city's Putuo district when the exhibition ends, offering a perfect chance for the public to learn the diverse ideas of young artists, he says.

wuni@chinadaily.com.cn

Statues of no limitations

Statues of no limitations

(China Daily 10/20/2013 page15)