Wednesday, September 17, 2008

knots & fingers

Last Tuesday, Hana, Michelle, Cecelia, and I began on our journey to the Nanjing Museum for its Triennial. "73 Nanjing Xi Lu" Our taxi driver tells us that there is no such address, that Nanjing Xi Lu ends at 90 and the rest is a park. Little did we know, the Nanjing Museum was actually located in no other place than Nanjing. Go figure! Fortunately, the kind middle schoolers nearby pointed us towards the Shanghai Museum, two blocks away in People's Square. So off we went...!

Along our way to locating the Shanghai Museum in People's Square, we discovered the Shanghai Yujiyong Sculpture Studio--an outside studio of sculptures scattered around the park. What captured my attention first were the giant representation of string knots. The first thought that ran through my mind was how greatly intricate these sculptures were. They weren't intricate in the way that sculptors paid attention to detail in faces of a person or the folds of clothing, but in their loops and realistic frayed ends and in the angling and the way that the piece of rope was not completely uniform in its structure. The amount of examining and truly understanding how a knot is strung was evident in these works by Yu Ji Yong. We quickly snapped cute and quirky shots of the knots itself and some with us in it.

Next, we walked into Yong's section of sculptures that resembled gigantic blocks of Lego's to me. Brightly colored in red, yellow, green, and blue, they truly rang something familiar to me from my childhood. As I walked closer I noticed that hands decorated the ledges of the sculptures. What I was immediately reminded of was children playing. Since childhood was marked with a focus of "hands on" playing, the presence of these hands displayed on the bright colors made me reminesce of days of playing as a child. The sculptures conveyed a joyful vibe that brought me twenty years into the past with joyful memories. The one sculpture that intrigued me the most however was the one surrounded with six fingered hands. Hana and I thought that this was of particular interest because it seemed as if the artists meant to show two hands combined, holding each other. This too reminded me of childhood and especially of the mandatory hand holding that occurred all too frequently during field trips.

All in all this studio work was the perfect kind to be placed in the park setting. Many admirers came to take photographs or to draw the scultures themselves. Walking away, I was left with a feeling of satisfaction, a little more appreciation for the arts, and happiness that we at last found one exhibition worth writing about.

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