A celebrated Chinese artist Xu Bing transforms the V&A’s John Madejski Garden with a new installation inspired by the classic Chinese fable Tao Hua Yuan (The Peach Blossom Spring).
The V&A invited Xu Bing to create a major new work to coincide with the Museum’s exhibition, Masterpieces of Chinese Painting 700–1900, which brought together the finest examples of Chinese painting to present an overview of one of the world’s greatest artistic traditions. Drawing elements from Chinese landscape scrolls, Xu Bing collected authentic stones from different places in China and made them into a layered mountainscape. He created a dream-like atmosphere with mist, light effects and sounds of birds and insects.
This challenging artwork comprises of 146 rocks, some of them small, several between 90kg and 950kg and four rocks weighing up to almost 2t. In addition, there are numerous ceramic decorative animals, houses, trees, nests and similar objects as well as artificial plants and flowers to decorate the resulting rocky, ‘mountainous’ landscape.
Momart was commissioned to install the landscape of rocks around the central pond in the John Madejski Gardens at the V&A. The rocks and accessory materials arrived by sea freight and air freight from the artist’s studio in China and were delivered to the museum and installed by Momart crew side by side with the team from the artist’s studio.
The scale of the installation, as well as the weight of the individual pieces, required careful planning of works and engaging specialist equipment. To prepare for the installation and to ensure compliance with the museum’s protocols and health and safety requirements a number of meetings have been held between the artist’s studio Momart and the V&A. Momart will also be responsible for de-installation of the exhibition once the show closes at the beginning of March 2014.
Watch the below time-lapse footage which shows the process by which the artwork came into being, while day and night-time shots document a dramatic transformation.
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Travelling to the Wonderland' by Xu Bing
John Madejski Garden, V&A
2 November 2013 - 2 March 2014