Go See – New York: “Waste Not” Song Dong at MoMA, Through September 7, 2009

August 16th, 2009

Installation view of “Waste Not” via NY Times

From June 24, 2009 through September 7, 2009 the Museum of Modern Art  displays their “Project 90,” featuring Beijing-native conceptual artist Song Dong. It is a solo exhibition installation entitled, “Waste Not” (or Wu jin qi gong in Chinese). The piece, done in collaboration between Song Dong and his mother, Zhao Xiang Yuan, was initially unveiled at the Beijing Hua Lang in 2005, and has since traveled to Guangzhou Biennale, the Berlin World Culture Pavilion, as well as the New Art Gallery in Walsall England. “Waste Not” is composed of ordinarily used objects collected by his mother over the span of fifty years,  such as pans, plates, buttons, pens, tubes, shirts, buttons, basins, toothpaste and even the original wooden frame of his mother’s home. The moving installation, which occupies 3,000 square feet of the MoMa’s Atrium, is a reconstruction of his parents’ house, which was taken over by Urban Planning in China. Dong’s piece is symbolic of a time when his mother, plagued by poverty, had to abide by the “waste not” dictum as a “prerequisite for survival.”

Projects 90: Song Dong [Museum Of Modern Art]
The Collected Ingredients of Beijing Life [The New York Times]
Song Dong: Between Conservation and Change [Culturebase]
Private Collection [New Yorker]
What a load of quite unmissable rubbish [Telegraph]

Song Dong’s “Waste Not” via NY Times

Song Dong’s “Waste Not” via NY Times

Born during a period of “ideological danger and economic want” in Beijing, Song Dong and his family were forced to adhere to the Cultural Revolutionary wu jin qi gong ideals. He began painting early on, his subjects mainly animals and flowers, and furthered his studies in the visual arts at Capital Normal University in Beijing. The voyeuristic installation gives insight into a claustrophobic childhood and an entire epoch of Chinese culture when hoarding was a necessity and way of life.

Song Dong’s “Waste Not” via NY Times

Song Dong’s “Waste Not” via NY Times

Song Dong’s “Waste Not” via NY Times

Song Dong’s “Waste Not” via NY Times

Song Dong’s “Waste Not” via NY Times

Song Dong’s “Waste Not” via NY Times