Thursday, September 18, 2008

The language of art

An outdoor sculpture studio. I never would have thought to find one here in Shanghai. And yet I did find one, on Nanjing Road just north of People's Square. The Shanghai Yujiyong Sculpture Studio to be exact.
Covering all the northern block of People's Square were a collection of giant metalic knots and human sculptures. The knots consisted of every knot type imaginable, from a seaman's knot to a pretzel like one. These knots also had different textures, as if they were made from a lasso rope or a string. The knots were definitely intriguing but my favorite were the human sculptures. There was one of a woman in repose with a child at her breast and another one bent at the waist with her nose touching her knees and her hair streaming towards the ground. The two I found most interesting were the three angels standing on a pedestal holding a round platter over their heads and the chess board with miniature human sculptures as its pieces.
Moving into the Square, we came across another section of the studio, this part exhibiting hands. The structure of the pieces looked like giant picture frames and growing out of the frames' sides were human hands, sometimes appearing alone and sometimes clasped together. These pieces were painted in one solid color. I must admit, they creeped me out. They seemed to be something out of a nightmare, what with the hands growing out of the frames as if to drag and the unwary passerby into their nightmarish world.
Still, I was surprised to find art like this in Shanghai. Whenever I hear the words "contemporary art," I always think of western Europe or the United States, never China. If I had not seen the plaques stating the artists, I would have believed that these pieces were created by Europeans or Americans. I have to agree that art is not limited to any one country or people but rather is limitless - making it a truly universal language.

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