Dai Chenlian’s exhibition “A Bright Moon Surging upon Tide” took the viewer into an unfamiliar realm. A giant boat made of paper and wood stood toward one end of the gallery; black lines and dashes embellished the floor and columns, as if measuring and dividing the space; landscapes were drawn directly on the walls; paper signs with words such as WATER and ROCK sat on the ground or hung from ropes; and a few paintings and readymade objects occupied various corners. The entire exhibition was almost black and white, and felt like the interior of another, bigger boat resembling the one in the space. The layout simultaneously reduced and reinforced the space as a white cube. All this made more sense if one realized that the artist’s modus operandi is to turn a sketch of his design for an exhibition directly into its appearance as an action in real time.
Thus, the exhibition opened with
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