Art that addresses geopolitical concerns is important, it reminds us that art has the ability to go beyond the rhetoric and question the status quo. Chinese artist Wang Mai‘s installation ‘Dire Straits’ does exactly this by exploring the notions of the disappearing past and uncertain future.
Mai has constructed an absurdist landscape, a strait between a forest laden with rusty pies, broken machines and crooked tree trunks. The walls are coated in blue foil wrappers from a Beijing brand of cigarette boxes (named after the area were the central leadership live), the floors, planks of corrugated blue metal from the roof of the artist’s own studio and If you look closely you’ll notice big brand logos all over the work, a large-scale cradle fabricated from birch bark and a tent covered in cured fish skin – the home of his ‘oil monsters’.
Mai’s work, through the juxtaposition of ancient and modern elements, tackles one of the Worlds most pressing issues, oil.
In a statement on the work the gallery states:
the ‘strait’ is intertwined with commentary on corporate branding and national interests, a race toward the future that disregards disappearing cultures and environmental atrophy. the artwork requests the audience to step into a world offering a reflection on china’s tense position in a rapidly degenerating planet.
The installation is on show at UCCA, Beijing until the 30th of august, 2012.
Via Design Boom
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