Zhou Yan Contemporary Chinese Art Archive 周彦当代中国艺术档案



Dong SONG 宋冬


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Date of Exhibition Event


Location of Exhibition Event

The wedding of one of the artist's friend


Pot, water, oil and more


"Chinese Medicine" is an artistic conflation of installation with action art. At the setting's background, in the wall, Song Dong installed 60 wooden boxes into a matrix; inside each of them contains the scraps of books which were designed to mimic the shapes of various kinds of Chinese medicine. (Note that the background setting in this entry's photograph is missing, perhaps due to adjustments to the artwork when in reprise). Before the wall, the artist set up a giant pot, or it might be called "wok", boiling water within it. As boiling water was ready, Song took out a few scraps of paper from each of the "medicine" boxes, and added them to the billowing water, imitating the conventional procedures when handling, or "cooking", Chinese medicine. In the course of the "medicine" (book-soup) preparation, Song would stir the wok with a cooking spatula, aiming to keep a balanced heating on the paper. Whiles after, when the paper scrapped distilled much of their colors into the liquid, Song stopped the heating, and stored the finished solution (water with pigments, mostly), and the book scraps into two separate glass jar, a practice again imitates the Chinese medicine preparation. No explicit meaning of the work was given, but conjectures can be made in direction of Song's another work "Culture Noodle". In the latter work, Song parallels scraps of book with noodle, claiming books to be spiritual food for people. Would a parallel of books to medicine, like we see in this artwork, communicate the same message? (Song, Artist's explanation on the work, 2021, through private correspondence with ZHOU Yan). (Jerry Wu'23).



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