50 Top Artists Create a New Art Park in Shunde, Southern China

Are the Chinese finally getting serious about public art?

Art made from recycled metal off of the historical Eiffel Bridge. Via www.chinaculture.org

Fifty artists have gathered to create an “art park” in Shunde, Southern China, which celebrates 50 years of diplomatic relations between China and France.

Inaugurated earlier this week, the 200,000 square-meter Sino-French Art Park is dotted with sculptures made from what looks like scrap metal. It’s scrap metal with a special cachet, though: it was dismantled from the Eiffel Bridge in Bayonne, Southwestern France, shipped to China, and used by the participating artists to make installations. The bridge was designed by the  French civil engineer Gustave Eiffel in 1864, before he went on to create the Eiffel Tower.

50 artists from China and France created art from metal salvaged from the Eiffel Bridge. Via www.chinaculture.org

50 artists from China and France created art from metal salvaged from the Eiffel Bridge.
Via www.chinaculture.org

“When the ruins of the Eiffel Bridge, which represent the Industrial Revolution, were transported to and rebuilt in Shunde, a modern global manufacturing and processing center, it was like a bridge was built connecting past and present,” Lu Mingjun, one of the curators for the opening exhibition, told the Global Times.  

Fan Zhe, the art director of the park project, initiated the recycling of the Eiffel Bridge, hoping the metal could gain new life in the artists’ hands. Fan’s theme for the exhibition is “AA Utopia” — “AA” means to “go Dutch” in Chinese slang and refers to the idea that all parties are participating equally in the “Utopia” of the art park.

Big-name artists like Wang Guangyi, Sui Jianguo, and Xu Bing have participated in the project. French artist Catherine Val and Chinese artist Li Ming each built a sculpture of Charles de Gaulle and Chairman Mao respectively. The statues have been placed so it looks like the two figures are in conversation.

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