Attachments — Arch(2018)
acrylic mirror, wood, scaffold
570 x 500 x 500 cm
This installation is a continuation of my interest in the circulation and the copying of cultural artefacts in the global market, and in its concomitant recontextualization. Local people digest foreign cultural symbols by rendering their new forms, new aesthetics and new cultural functionalities.
In 2018, I was invited to join the first exhibition of Kunming Contemporary Gallery (CN), which is located in a just-completed office building in the shape of Arc de Triomphe and built with modern materials steel and glass. After comparing the building with the original arch in Paris, I focused on their difference in the form. The new arch is square, which suits the practical function of the office. However, the original’s curved shape bore a structural function when it was first made in the third millennium B.C. In both China and the West, the cultural indexicality of the triumphal arch has taken over its practicality. Therefore I presented two spandrels (one real, one reflected in the mirror) in the exhibition space to ‘fill’ the absent cultural value; meanwhile, to reflect on the business motivation of the real estate company behind the attempt of opening a contemporary art gallery in the area.
In this work I also consciously involved the curator, the director and workers of the gallery in the making process. Such as the director chose the material of wood, and the workers helped deciding the colour of the scaffold. Instead of indifferently maneuvering the project, I want to turn the art scene into a more open narrative, in order to create the feeling of ‘accomplice’, while questioning my own ‘functionality’ as an artist in the process.