shan shan sheng; 'open wall project' at the venice art biennale 09 shan shan sheng; 'open wall project' at the venice art biennale 09
jul 20, 2009

shan shan sheng; 'open wall project' at the venice art biennale 09

2,200 glass bricks have been stacked to create a wall image courtesy of marcel lam and shan shan sheng

shan shan sheng‘s the ‘open wall project’ at the venice art biennale, makes suggestions to the contemporary opening of china to the global economy and stands as a place for the unprecedented exchange of ideas. the sculpture which is meant to be a reconstruct of the great wall of china, indicates moments of transparency and opacity, marking this critical intersection of chinese and western culture.

located along venice’s historic grand canal, the temporary pavilion is made up of 2,200 stacked glass bricks, each brick represents the number of years which it took to build the great wall. the glass blocks become a kind of cultural currency which can be moved, redistributed, subtracted and added duration of the installation, expressing the transitory process of globalization.

illuminated at night image courtesy of marcel lam and shan shan sheng

image courtesy of marcel lam and shan shan sheng

image courtesy of marcel lam and shan shan sheng

the blocks are intermittent with layers of red, yellow and gold image courtesy of marcel lam and shan shan sheng

image courtesy of marcel lam and shan shan sheng

a detailed look at the engravings of each brick image courtesy of marcel lam and shan shan sheng

each brick is engraved with a date and its corresponding chinese lunar year. the dates are meant to signify historical moments which have been witnessed by the great wall. 564 BC was the year the great wall’s construction began and 1254 AD was the birth year of marco polo, china’s link to venice.

image courtesy of shan shan sheng

the bricks of the great wall, when laid out lengthwise edge to edge, could span the entire globe. sheng has used glass bricks which are the same size as those that were used to build he great wall.

image courtesy of shan shan sheng

concept models of the open wall image courtesy of shan shan sheng image courtesy of shan shan sheng

image courtesy of shan shan sheng

image courtesy of shan shan sheng

shan shan sheng was born in shanghai, china and grew up surviving the cultural revolution. in 1982 she went to the united states to pursue her academic and artistic interests, and has since had over twenty one-woman shows in europe, asia and america. she now lives and works in san francisco.

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