Junk genre: Drawing inspiration from the useless

Updated: 2016-01-26 10:03

By Lin Qi(China Daily)

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Junk genre: Drawing inspiration from the useless

Song Dong displays at his solo show, Surplus Value, the everyday items that have been transformed into art installations.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Song found his initial inspiration after his father's sudden death in 2002.

To relieve his mother, Zhao Xiangyuan, from her sorrow and loneliness, he helped her sort and categorize the family's possessions.

He then got the idea to transform the objects for his first project-Waste Not.

He sorted the items accumulated by his family for decades and displayed them to focus on the usefulness of the useless.

"I used to hate the things because they took up so much space. But when I laid them out with my mother and sister, I saw in them a slice of a common person's life," he says.

Song's art also looks at the relationships among people and between people and objects. He says the items of daily use have meaning only when used by people, and every item carries memories and shared sentiments of individuals, families and a nation.

In 2011, Song furthered his concept of the art of waste with an exhibition called Wisdom of the Poor at Beijing's Ullens Center for Contemporary Art.

There, he used old items to show how people living in hutong used their ingenuity to improve their environment.

In his work, Song focuses on the lives of ordinary people and their propensity to consume.

He says people enjoy displaying their wealth through excessive purchases, and businesses persuade them to keep replacing old things with new ones, producing a lot of junk.

"Our extravagance today means that someday in the future we will have nothing to waste."

If you go

10 am-6 pm, closed on Mondays, through Feb 27. Pace Beijing, 798 Art Zone, 2 Jiuxianqiao Road, Chaoyang district, Beijing. 010-5978-9781.


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