Critics’ Picks

Tao Hui, The Dusk of Teheran, 2014, video, color, sound, 4 minutes.

Tao Hui, The Dusk of Teheran, 2014, video, color, sound, 4 minutes.


“A Selection of Chinese Works”

Fondation Louis Vuitton
8 Avenue du Mahatma Gandhi
January 27–August 29, 2016

They say size isn’t everything, but this foundation’s latest rehang, showcasing contemporary Chinese highlights from their collection, puts spectacle at the fore. Don’t believe me? Just check out Xu Zhen’s nearly twenty-foot-high Eternity—Tianlongshan, Grottoes Bodhisattva, Winged Victory of Samothrace, 2013, in which a seated Buddha is nearly swallowed by an upturned duplicate of the famous Greek statue. Familiar pieces include Ai Weiwei’s Tree, 2010, and Huang Yong Ping’s L’Arc de saint-Gilles (The Bow of Saint-Gilles), 2015, a deer split in half by the titular archer’s instrument. But there are surprises: Zhang Huan’s Giant no. 3, 2008, which, quite literally, stops people in their tracks. This enormous seated figure, made out of animal pelts, resembles an eerie voodoo doll, or a tired goliath.

Balance is found in the inclusion of video and film works, such as Yang Fudong’s five-part saga Seven intellectuals in a bamboo forest, 2003–2007, and Tao Hui’s tenderly nuanced The Dusk of Teheran, 2014. Another work by Yang, however, steals the show: the video installation The Colored Sky: New Women II, 2014. It immerses you in a dizzying world—a sensuous and synesthetic realm where sounds and images swirl together, as if you’re in a drug-induced reverie. Here, we experience a slug crawling over green grapes and a girl gently stroking a white python, while dazed-looking pin-ups, smiling ecstatically, are enveloped by twilight film sets. Languorous sensuality mingles with siren song, a heart of darkness. Stay too long and you’ll drown.