Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Satirical Works

Song Dong (1966) is a Beijing based artist whose focus is on creating conceptual art through his installations, performances, photography, and videos. Most of his works are made from inexpensive materials, consist of small scale constructions, and try to capture the rapidly changing state of society. One of his more notable work is entitled, “Eating the City” and is about the rapid development of Asian cities. For this installation, Song Dong constructed a miniature city made completely from biscuits. Most of the buildings in this “city” are inspired by real life buildings. Viewers are invited to consume the biscuits making this an interaction installation and creating the ephemeral state that he wished to portray. This witty commentary on the large scale and rapid development in China without regard to today’s problems is effective in that it does not upset people, yet it makes a sound statement. This installation has been recreated and exhibited in many cities worldwide.

Zhao Bandi (1966), another Beijing based artist, creates his artwork around scenes with his toy panda. Most of his works are consist of commentary on modern life in which the toy panda and other characters converse in the photograph through speech bubbles. In particular, his photograph, “Block SARS, Defend the Homeland,” depicts a young man dressed in military uniform and a toy panda. Both of them are holding toy guns behind trash bags with a brick wall behind. Like many of his other works, this photograph puts a twist on the past propaganda posters to comment on issues affecting Chinese society.

Both artists use clever methods to make a comment on modern Chinese society. Also, in both situations, the messages are hidden behind superficial images. Thus, the artists create deep impacts on those who seek to find the meaning of these works despite adding humor.

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