View of “Yang Jian,” 2017. Photo: Li Sen.

View of “Yang Jian,” 2017. Photo: Li Sen.

Yang Jian

Taikang Space 泰康空间

View of “Yang Jian,” 2017. Photo: Li Sen.

Near the entrance of Yang Jian’s solo exhibition “Constructing Ruins,” visitors encountered a short text typewritten on a small piece of paper attached to a length of rebar. The elliptical words tell the story of a crew of workers who run into trouble constructing a bridge. The foreman, disguised as a beggar, asks nearby villagers for two sets of children’s clothes. The workers nail the clothes to a post and, suddenly, they are able to complete the bridge successfully. Soon, however, the children to whom the clothes belonged die.

This tale was among half a dozen stories printed on as many pieces of paper dangling here and there amid this show on the second floor of Taikang Space. All of these texts—collected by Yang from the internet—address the practice of dashengzhuang, or the ritual of human sacrifice for important construction projects. Dashengzhuang belongs to an

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