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Jing’an International Sculpture Project returns for 10th year

By ZHANG KUN in Shanghai | China Daily USA | Updated: 2018-11-17 02:32
Huge animal sculptures made with used bicycle parts have been a hit with visitors at the Jing'an International Sculpture Project. Gao Erqiang / China Daily

An upside-down truck, an astronaut floating in the air between a chair and a flower pot, and a hot water bottle with feet — these are just some of the quirky works of art featured at the Jing'an International Sculpture Project (JISP) which urge people to view life in another perspective.

This is the 10th year that Jing'an district is presenting the annual showcase of sculptures at the Jing'an Sculpture Park. Titled City Unbounded, the exhibition this year kicked off on Sept 20 and will go on till Dec 20.

A total of 87 sculptures from 40 artists home and abroad are on display in Jing'an Sculpture Park, Da-ning Park and Shibei High Tech Park, a newly introduced exhibition space.

The truck installation, titled Stand quiet and look out over the Mediterranean Sea was created by Austrian artist Erwin Wurm, who is known for his fascination with everyday life and humorous approach to distorting ordinary objects. Visitors are invited to enter the cabin and ascend a flight of the stairs within the installation. In this present context, the Mediterranean Sea is represented by the high-rise buildings located around the park.

Located near the Shanghai Natural History Museum, the exhibition at Jing'an Sculpture Park has attracted large crowds every year. This year, the organizers have also chosen to showcase some artworks that they believe children would find interesting, such as the Kaleidome by LAAB, a Hong Kong-based laboratory of art and architecture.

The public art installation consists of 262 polyhedral cells of polished stainless-steel mirror. Each reflective cell is a small frame that reflects the surroundings. Like a kaleidoscope, it shuffles the images of everything around, as well as the movements of the visitors.

Meanwhile, an installation depicting a herd of animals running down the slope by the main building of the natural history museum were made of used bicycle parts. This artwork belongs to an art project named Urban Cohabitation which was created by Shanghai-based studio Design Republic.

"Shared bikes were made with the good intention of helping society become greener, but they're now seen as urban waste as there are just too many of them," said Mao Wencai, director of Purple Roof Gallery and the curator of the JISP.

"By making animal sculptures and other useful things out of the waste, artists share their hopes for a good life and how we can use art to solve some of the problems in modern life. This is also the message we want to spread via public art."

Titled Self-Portrait of a Dreamer, the exhibit featuring an astronaut was created by Dutch artist Joseph Klibansky. While the seven-meter-high sculpture looks to be floating in the air, visitors will discover that the astronaut is actually holding himself up on the backrest of a chair. Those familiar with art history will recognize the chair to be from Vincent van Gogh's bedroom.

Klibansky himself admitted that both the chair and the pot of sunflowers at the foot of the astronaut reference the history of art and Vincent van Gogh in particular.

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