rockbund art museum   cai guo qiang exhibition rockbund art museum   cai guo qiang exhibition
may 14, 2010

rockbund art museum cai guo qiang exhibition

cai guo-qiang: peasant da vincis rockbund art museum, shanghai may 7th to august 8th, 2010

the rockbund art museum, housed in a converted 1932 art deco building on shanghai’s historic riverfront, has been restored and with interior design by british architect david chipperfield. the building was previously home to the royal asiatic society, and is next to the former site of the shanghai british consulate. the museum, which is part of a larger development project in shanghai, opened to the public with a show curated by the artist cai guo-qiang, featuring robots, DIY flying machines and a rooftop UFO. designboom editor feifei song went to the preview and shares many images of the exhibition with you.

this is part two of the exhibition report, see part 1 here.

cai guo-qiang fairytale, 2010 grass lawn, 60 live birds, wild flowering plants, airplanes by chen zong zhi and wang qiang, submarines by li yuming, helicopters by xu bin and wu zhuzhai, flying saucers by du wenda installation view at the rockbund art museum, 2010 image © designboom

coinciding with the shanghai expo 2010, an event in which countries and companies present their latest inventions, showing off their political, economic, technological and cultural strengths, cai guo-qiang’s ‘peasant da vincis’ presents stories of ‘peasant’ inventors from all over china who show great enthusiasm and courage in the pursuit of their dreams.

besides exhibiting a large number of these inventions, the project invites the inventors to recreate their works and demonstrate how they function on site, encouraging public discussions on these rough and amateurish hand-built creations as well as their aesthetics, social and cultural connotations. ‘anxiety is present in chinese society over its state of transition between ‘made in china’ and ‘created in china’, and it is the hundreds of millions of peasants who have paid the price for the construction of modern society and better urban life in the reform era. the slogan of the shanghai expo is ‘better city, better life,’ and to this I would add: ‘peasants – making a better city, better life.‘ – cai guo-qiang

cai guo-qiang fairytale, 2010 grass lawn, 60 live birds, wild flowering plants, airplanes by chen zong zhi and wang qiang, submarines by li yuming, helicopters by xu bin and wu zhuzhai, flying saucers by du wenda installation view at the rockbund art museum, 2010 image © designboom

housed in the 4th, 5th and 6th floors of the museum is cai’s ‘fairytale’, a presentation of five submarines, four airplanes, helicopters and flying saucers in a lyrical and spiritual environment, surrounded by green grass, blossoming flowers and live birds.

cai guo-qiang fairytale, 2010 grass lawn, 60 live birds, wild flowering plants, airplanes by chen zong zhi and wang qiang installation view at the rockbund art museum, 2010 image © designboom

cai guo-qiang fairytale, 2010 grass lawn, 60 live birds, wild flowering plants, airplanes by chen zong zhi and wang qiang installation view at the rockbund art museum, 2010 image © designboom

cai guo-qiang fairytale, 2010 grass lawn, 60 live birds, wild flowering plants, airplanes by chen zong zhi and wang qiang, submarines by li yuming, helicopters by xu bin and wu zhuzhai, flying saucers by du wenda installation view at the rockbund art museum, 2010 image © designboom

cai guo-qiang fairytale, 2010 grass lawn, 60 live birds, wild flowering plants, airplanes by chen zong zhi and wang qiang installation view at the rockbund art museum, 2010 image © designboom

cai guo-qiang fairytale, 2010 grass lawn, 60 live birds, wild flowering plants, airplanes by chen zong zhi and wang qiang installation view at the rockbund art museum, 2010 image © designboom

cai guo-qiang fairytale, 2010 detail of the live birds perched upon one of the airplanes image © designboom

cai guo-qiang fairytale, 2010 detail of the live birds perched upon one of the airplanes image © designboom

cai guo-qiang fairytale, 2010 grass lawn, 60 live birds, wild flowering plants, airplanes by chen zong zhi and wang qiang, submarines by li yuming, helicopters by xu bin and wu zhuzhai, flying saucers by du wenda installation view at the rockbund art museum, 2010 image © designboom

cai guo-qiang fairytale, 2010 grass lawn, 60 live birds, wild flowering plants, airplanes by chen zong zhi and wang qiang, submarines by li yuming, helicopters by xu bin and wu zhuzhai, flying saucers by du wenda installation view at the rockbund art museum, 2010 image © designboom

cai guo-qiang fairytale, 2010 grass lawn, 60 live birds, wild flowering plants, airplanes by chen zong zhi and wang qiang, submarines by li yuming, helicopters by xu bin and wu zhuzhai, flying saucers by du wenda installation view at the rockbund art museum, 2010 image © designboom

cai guo-qiang fairytale, 2010 grass lawn, 60 live birds, wild flowering plants, helicopters by xu bin and wu zhuzhai installation view at the rockbund art museum, 2010 image © designboom

cai guo-qiang fairytale, 2010 detail of a helicopter with china’s flag image © designboom

cai guo-qiang fairytale, 2010 grass lawn, 60 live birds, wild flowering plants, submarines by li yuming, installation view at the rockbund art museum, 2010 image © designboom

li yuming (b. 1941 in hanyang, wuhan, hubei province, china) mortgaged his home to fund his submarines, believing they will benefit humanity. although people can move about freely on the ground and in the air, more than half of the earth’s surface is water, so he hopes to construct a sightseeing submarine.

cai bought his first peasant invention – yuming’s ‘twilight no.1’- in february 2005. since then, he has acquired almost all of yuming’s creations.

cai guo-qiang fairytale, 2010 grass lawn, 60 live birds, wild flowering plants, submarines by li yuming, installation view at the rockbund art museum, 2010 image © designboom

cai guo-qiang fairytale, 2010 grass lawn, 60 live birds, wild flowering plants, submarines by li yuming, installation view at the rockbund art museum, 2010 image © designboom

cai guo-qiang fairytale, 2010 grass lawn, 60 live birds, wild flowering plants, submarines by li yuming, installation view at the rockbund art museum, 2010 image © designboom

cai guo-qiang fairytale, 2010 detail of submarine image © designboom

cai guo-qiang fairytale, 2010 grass lawn, 60 live birds, wild flowering plants, airplanes by chen zong zhi and wang qiang, submarines by li yuming, helicopters by xu bin and wu zhuzhai, flying saucers by du wenda installation view at the rockbund art museum, 2010 image © designboom

a prototype image © desigboom

aircraft carrier by tao xiangli image © designboom

the second exhibition space, adjacent to the building’s lobby, will be activated by the on-site production of a twenty-meter-long aircraft carrier with planes on deck, out of scrap metal. cai invited tao xiangli (b. 1974) a peasant from fuyang, anhui province to design the piece. in the body of the carrier, underneath the broad deck, xiangli has suspended a cluster of submarines.

aircraft carrier by tao xiangli image © designboom

aircraft carrier by tao xiangli image © designboom

aircraft carrier by tao xiangli a cluster of submarines are found suspended from the carrier’s broad deck image © designboom

tao xiangli land, sea and air vehicle model image © designboom

submarine by tao xiangli image © designboom

cai guo-qiang detached, 2010 DVD of ‘out of the present’ by andrei ujica, flat panel monitor, five floor-length mirrors and one convex circular mirror installation view at the rockbund art museum, 2010 image © designboom

cai guo-qiang detached, 2010 DVD of ‘out of the present’ by andrei ujica, flat panel monitor, five floor-length mirrors and one convex circular mirror installation view at the rockbund art museum, 2010 image © designboom

cai guo-qiang kites, 2010 49 handmade paper and bamboo kites, 49 steel stands, 49 miniature electric fans, 49 pocket projectors installation view at the rockbund art museum, 2010 image © designboom

installation view of du wenda’s ‘flying saucer C’ at the rockbund art museum, 2010 image © designboom

visitors are beckoned to the museum by a glowing UFO, ‘flying saucer C’ by du wenda, spinning on the roof, and enter through the museum’s courtyard that is transformed into a makeshift construction site.

image © designboom

image © designboom

cai guo-qiang ‘what’s important isn’t whether you can fly’, 2010 installation view at the rockbund art museum image © designboom

on the rooftop plaza, three large murals with slogans create a propagandistic atmosphere…. extending exhibition to the street: ‘never learned how to land‘ ‘what’s important isn’t whether you can fly‘ ‘peasants – making a better city, a better life‘ painted in giant chinese characters on the exterior of the museum and surrounding buildings.

installation view with cai guo-qiang’s ‘never learned how to land’ and du wenda’s ‘flying saucer C’ and ‘flying saucer D’ at the rockbund art museum image © designboom

installation view with cai gguo-qiang’s ‘never learned how to land’ and du wenda’s ‘flying saucer C’ inset at the rockbund art museum, 2010 image © designboom

image © designboom

the exhibition title and date in chinese and english is spray-painted in red in style of industrial signage on a silver-colored wall bordering the construction site along huqiu road in the rockbund area. in the plaza, the slogan ‘never learned how to land’ is painted in chinese calligraphy style on the north wall of the museum, which forms a distinct contrast with the glowing UFO made by du wenda, spinning slowly on the roof of the building. on a wall in the garage, visitors can see the slogan ‘what’s important isn’t whether you can fly’.

image © designboom

  • magnificent madness!

    Dr. Design says:
  • I salute them all.

    charles says:
  • do the flying machines really work or are they just fantastic contraptions?

    Andrea says:
  • great exhibition..
    salute!

    singantuk says:
  • Where are the Windmills? Don Quixote would feel right at home, as would Heath Robinson. Bravo d;-)

    Jetwax says:
  • this one trick pony should stick to his lame fireworks

    ryan says:
  • really inspired and this is what CHINA dreams all about!!!

    yomomo says:
  • Absolutely fantastic!! What an inspirational exhibition, am in awe. This one is a must!

    Anni says:

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