Theatre of the World Exhibition- Elsie Campbell

Over all, I found the exhibit at the Guggenheim to be very eye-opening and well designed. I loved how the progression over time was so visible as the whole show was set up in a chronological way as you ascended the gallery. I think the focus on the 2008 Beijing olympics was also interesting for viewers my age because that was one of the first memorable olympic cycles. The over all feel of the exhibit exuded a sense of cultural pride yet also exhaustion and disintegration.

Though there were many interesting pieces, I found a few pieces really stood out.

My first favorite was a piece called Sewing by Lin Tianmiao. This multi media sculpture was a sewing machine completely wrapped in cotton thread on top of a small table. Everything was white. Then on top of the sewing machine there was a video projected of a pair of hands operating the sewing machine. I felt that this piece was interesting because it had a very unique use of medium. I love that the video portion showed what the physical portion could be used for, it created an interesting sense of disassociation. The piece was aesthetically appealing in its all white appearance. My initial response to the piece was that it was making some commentary on the factory systems in china, this was made all the more interesting by the ‘pureness’ of the sculptures appearance, the physical softness, and this eerie disassociated hint from the projection of the hands.

My second favorite piece was called Ascending Dragon: Project for Extraterrestrials No. 2 by Cai Guo-Qiang. This piece was very visually appealing in its interesting textures and use of alternative mediums. The painting was made of ink on paper but it had large scorch marks that were made with gun powder. I had never heard of an artist using gun powder for their art like this, so I was very interested. The dragon motif is definitely one that is associated with Chinese art, so using it in a modern context is interesting. Further more, using a traditional motif but modern techniques, especially one that indicates a sense of violence, creates a sense of cultural destruction which I think is interesting.

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