Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ye Nan: The Ball is Flat

This installation as well as the oil piece Who hid that secret in the space between the football and the football field, which was shown in the same room, was a great consideration of space and a clever/insightful comment on the human race.  Ye Nan uses soccer as a culminating symbol of the game of life.  Soccer is the most popular and widely played sport of the world for a reason, and its ability to bring different cultures together, and get to our desire for competition, interaction, and companionship is especially revealing.

This exhibition is impressive in the way it makes use of the entire room.  Soccer ball shells are carefully pieced together to create linoleum type flooring that covers every inch of the floor.  Upon entering the room my attention was immediately taken by the large earth shaped ball that was covered in real grass and painted with a small isolated goal box.  I didn’t even notice the floor until I could feel how it changed my movements and received the weight of my body.  It’s no wonder that this installation was curetted by Qiu Zhijie, who considers space in a very similar way.

This piece points to a trend that I feel separates the contemporary Chinese art scene from the West.  Exhibitions such as Art for Sale (1999), Post-Sense Sensibility: Distorted Bodies and Delusion (1999), Persistent Deviation/Corruptionists (1998) to more recent exhibition such as Breaking Through the Ice and The Ball is Flat, all put a considerable amount of thought into the environment that art creates.  Chinese artists have been quite experimental with finding new places and ways to display their art.  Much can be lost when a gallery hangs artists’ painting next to each other in the same exact way.  This neutrality can be boring and take away life, emotion, and intent.  After all, if an artist is to display a work for audience to see, he/she should be sure that the viewer can be drawn to it existence and given a context to completely appreciate the work.

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