The many faces of the Grand Canal

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/10/29 18:58:40

The Water of the Grand Canal by Zhang Qikai Photo: Courtesy of Beijing Times Art Museum


 Xiao Ge Photo: Courtesy of Beijing Times Art Museum

Five years after China's Grand Canal, the longest and oldest man-made waterway system in the world, was listed as a World Cultural Heritage site, a new exhibition at the Beijing Times Art Museum hopes to take visitors on a journey to explore the canal from the perspectives of 26 teams of artists.  

Produced by Zhao Yan and curated by Xiao Ge, the Common Space exhibition features artworks ranging from photographs to installation works by renowned artists such as Xu Bing, Qiu Zhijie and Zhang Qikai. 

According to Xiao, the Grand Canal, a major transportation channel between Hangzhou in East China's Zhejiang Province and Beijing for grain, salt, coal and other products, is "tied to the history and destiny of the nation. It is an important carrier of Chinese civilization and the most representative historical metaphor in the age of globalization." 

Xiao once staged a similar Grand Canal-themed exhibition at the Venice Biennale in 2013, in which a total of 12 teams of artists presented the canal through contemporary art. 

"The new exhibition, much larger than the 2013 one and with more artists joining in, allows people to understand Chinese artists' thoughts on the Grand Canal. These artists, ranging in age from 30 to 50, explore the canal from different angles and mediums. With each diverse work, the exhibition tells the same story - a story about inheriting, protecting and re-using our cultural heritage," Xiao told the Global Times on Sunday. 

Among the exhibits on display, Fei Jun's Re-Search enables visitors to use a smartphone app to embark on an unusual adventure through a virtual recreation of the charming Italian city of Venice, where the artist has "transplanted" 25 iconic ancient Chinese bridges to the "Floating City." 

The exhibits on display also include He Haoyuan's Crystal, Peng Xiaojia's Shanshui Landscape and Shou Shengnan's The Repayment of Mermaids

The exhibition is set to run until November 27. 


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