However much postmodern or global influence has shaped contemporary China, this Confucian maxim has not escaped people’s outlooks: “At thirty I stood firm. At forty, I had no doubts. At fifty, I knew the mandate of heaven. At sixty, my ear was an obedient organ for the reception of the truth.” This proverb is also the reference point for fifty-year-old Song Dong’s solo show “I Don’t Know the Mandate of Heaven.” The exhibition, curated by Liu Yingjiu and Xu Tiantian and replete with dense materials, provides more than enough jigsaw pieces to construct Song’s life and career, while also presenting the creative path of an established artist who, like many others, struggles between cultures and turns that struggle into conceptual fuel.
The show was composed of seven chapters: one theme for each of the six floors and one commissioned work that occupied the whole building. In the latter,
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