Until July 31st, the Gladstone Gallery presents an impressive large-scale installation by Huang Yong Ping: “tower snake”. This piece continues in the same direction line of the artist : through his art, he seeks for opening the dialectic between two worlds, by a strong provocation, sometimes controversial.
Founding member of the Xiamen Dada group in China during the mid-1980s, he has garnered an international reputation in France in particular with the debate after the censorship of his installation “World Theater” which should have been presented in the exhibition “Out of Limit’, at the Pompidou Center. This piece gathered in a large box with the shape of a turtle, different species of insects which were doomed to kill each other: the purpose was to create a microcosm of worldwide conflict.
Ten years later he represented France at the Venice Biennale: beyond the provocative side, his work shows a great complexity and innovation. Besides, his large-scale installations, by mixing oriental and occidental cultural codes, Eastern and Western Art history, create an original look from a transcultural perspective. Coming from China, the artist thinks that the best way to engage a realization from the viewer is to use the sensational part of the event. If not, it would be difficult to give a sense of the spirit of opposition he wants to transmit. Thus, he sometimes burned his work in showing resistance to the realism socialist. The problem is for him to establish a relation with the society without loosing his independency.
The monumental installation ‘the tower-snake’ is comprised of a single temple-like construction. “Taking its form from the spiral of a coiled snake skeleton, a ramp of bamboo gradually rises taking the viewers from the tail toward its head. In transforming the rib cage of the snake into a series of arches, Huang Yong Ping echoes the architecture of a Gothic cathedral, simultaneously reworking this Western style with Eastern materials and subtly transforming the cruciform symbol of Christian salvation into the tangled figure of Edenic temptation. More importantly, this Tower of Babel-like sculpture depends upon the natural material of bamboo reaffirming its link to Eastern construction”. In this piece, the interaction with the viewer is at its best: indeed, the latter enters through the representation of the snake, and follows its long body; through this path, he could thus pervade its deep reality. An experience not to miss…
Born in 1954, Huang Yong Ping participated in the seminal exhibition “Magiciens de la Terre” at Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris in 1989, and represented France at the 1999 Venice Biennale. In 2006, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis organized and premiered his retrospective “House of Oracles,” which traveled to Mass MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts; Vancouver Art Gallery; and Ullens Center, Beijing. Other solo exhibitions include: CCA Kitakyushu, Japan; De Appel, Amsterdam; Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, Paris; Atelier d’Artistes de la Ville de Marseille; Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo; Barbican Art Gallery, London; and New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York
[Visual : Huang Yong Ping : “Tower Snake”, 2009 Aluminum, bamboo, steel; 22 x 39 x 37 feet, courtesy Gladstone Gallery]