THE TITLE OF Olafur Eliasson’s exhibition at the Long Museum West Bund, “Nothingness is not nothing at all,” was cleverly translated as “Wu Xiang Wan Xiang,” a riff on Chinese philosophical perspectives on nature and the universe. Uniting two homophonic versions of xiang, the former referring to appearance or form and the latter to a manifestation of nature, the Chinese version thus read: “Assuming no appearance is (to embrace) every manifestation of nature”ironic, given that there was nothing natural in this exhibition, which marked the artist’s most comprehensive presentation in China by far.
The open pyramid, 2016, a large-scale, site-specific installation commissioned by the museum, put visitors center stage immediately after their entry into the cavernous gallery space: A giant hollow pyramid, built with an aluminum framework and reflective sheets, hung from the museum’s
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