Dragons in varied sizes and shapes

Updated: 2012-01-26 09:00

By Zhang Kun (China Daily)

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SHANGHAI - From a curve shaped like a dragon's tail from prehistoric times to a robot dragon created from junk auto parts, 10 artists have exhibited their works on the dragon in an open space of a shopping mall in Jinqiao in Shanghai's Pudong New Area.

This is the second time Li Xu, director of the Zhangjiang Museum, has organized an exhibition on dragons, inspiring artists to come up with some fantastic ideas. "They (the artists) have created, adopted or interpreted the classic totem in varied expressions and presented their works in recycled or eco-friendly materials," Li says.

In one of its first appearances in Chinese culture, the dragon was depicted as a simple curve like the letter "C" with a tail. Cang Xin, an artist from Beijing, has made the symbolic Hongshan dragon that dates back to more than 5,000 years on a large piece of burnt coal.

Wang Xieda, a calligrapher and sculptor, has created dragons out of abstract lines inspired by inscriptions on three- and four-legged ancient bronze cauldrons. He has hung his white dragons from the ceiling of the mall to create the illusion that they are flying in the clouds.

Maleonn, a contemporary artist and photographer from Shanghai, collected waste bicycle and tricycle parts to create a dragon sculpture, with rusty wheels for claws and bicycle handles for horns.

One of the most impressive pieces at the exhibition is the creation of Bi Heng, a young graduate from the Central Academy of Fine Arts. His is a 3-meter-tall dragon made from a hood, bumpers, headlights and other auto scraps. "I love traditional Chinese culture and always think I should present traditional symbols and images in modern ways," says Bi. An enthusiastic fan of Transformer cartoons and movies, Bi created the dragon with heavy metal, which could have stood much taller outdoors but for safety concerns.

The 26-year-old artist gained popularity on the Internet when he built a Transformer-style sculpture of Guan Gong, an ancient Chinese marshal from the Three Kingdoms Period (AD 220-280). A movie is being made featuring Bi's Guan Gong sculpture, which was assembled from an obsolete Jiefang truck.

The exhibition will go on until the end of March.

China Daily