Song Dong’s mother lode: Beijing artist turns mom’s hoardings into art

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What a sight: The second storey of the Vancouver Art Gallery, usually stark and pristine with priceless works of art, is filled with stuff. It would not be unfair to call the items, spread out on the floor across three large rooms, junk. But these things – pop bottles, cans of Raid, bits of outdoor carpeting, socks – were a treasure to one woman, and as such have travelled to art galleries around the world in a monumental installation called Waste Not.

This installation is the work of Song Dong, a noted Beijing-based conceptual artist. Consisting of more than 10,000 items, as well as the frame of the tiny house where he grew up, Waste Not serves as a memorial to his father, Song Shiping, and a tribute to his mother, Zhao Xiangyuan. There are strong echoes here of both the Cultural Revolution and of China’s new consumer culture. And there’s an environmental message too: Nothing in Zhao’s life was thrown out, or went to waste.

Full article here at the Globe and Mail.

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