reviews

View of “Song Dong,” 2017. Foreground: Policemen, 2000–2004. Background: Mirror Hall, 2016–17.

Song Dong

Rockbund Art Museum (RAM) | 上海外滩美术馆

View of “Song Dong,” 2017. Foreground: Policemen, 2000–2004. Background: Mirror Hall, 2016–17.

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,

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the May 2017 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.