Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Introduction to Appreciation

Before going to "Intrude Art & Life 366", the only other art museum I could recall going to was the MoMA in New York. To be honest, I didn't enjoy the MoMA that much. Some of the pieces at the New York MoMA were interesting in terms of design, but I really didn't feel like much of it was significant. My friend, who is a big art buff, tried showing me some of the more famous pieces contributed by more well-known artists, but I didn't enjoy those pieces at all. I couldn't even understand why there was such a big fuss over them. 

"Intrude Art & Life 366" was a completely different experience. I hadn't heard anything about the exhibit beforehand, so I didn't have any expectations. I don't like hearing about things before I go see them. I feel like I get a better experience if I go in with a blank state as opposed to going in with a list of things that might prevent me from really enjoying what I'm seeing. 

The first thing I saw before I even entered the exhibit was a hairy car parked outside of the front doors. It was pretty interesting, but it didn't really strike me as anything special. Sure, the amount of work that went into it must have been grueling, but I kept finding myself asking "why?". 

With this notion in mind, I walked in through the front doors and immediately looked up towards the ceiling. Lining the top of the walls beside the staircase in front of me were what seemed to be naked bodies. Upon closer inspection, I found that there were little wings on the backs of each of the bodies with wounds sprawled out across the sculptures. Because I didn't want to get sucked into one piece, I diverted my eyes and walked into the room to the right of the staircase. 

There were plenty of interesting exhibits in the room next to the staircase, but I kept finding myself wondering about those hanging angels. I kept wondering what they meant or if they really meant anything at all. After I was done with the room, I went upstairs thinking I'd find something more interesting, but I only found myself wanting to find out more about those angels. 

After going through all the other artwork, I made my way back to the little placard at the top of the staircase describing the "Injured Angels". Liu Jin, the creator of these angels, wanted to remind people of just how fragile we are even though we are capable of creating such massive and seemingly invincible skyscrapers. The angels were meant to seem helpless and vulnerable while they hung off the ledges of various skyscrapers throughout the city. 

I thought it was really interesting how Liu Jin was able to make a statement about China's race to westernization. I had always felt that China was losing scope of its history and its tradition due to its rapid growth and expansion in its various cities. The vulnerability of the angels made me realize just how ambiguous all this growth really is. Just because a nation is growing doesn't mean that the aforementioned nation is going to be in a better place in the future. And in this uncertainty, the people of the nation are at the mercy of those who decide the next biggest step for the nation to take. Liu Jin's sculptures were both captivating and moving, and they really begged the question of whether or not the people of China are headed towards a better future. 

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