Song Dong’s monumental installation Waste Not is a collaboration between the artist and his mother, Zhao Xiangyuan. The installation comprises the frame of his mother’s house along with all of the everyday objects she meticulously collected over the course of her lifetime: a collection of over ten thousand worn and broken objects, each one with unlimited potential value. Together, the assembled materials—clothes, books, kitchen utensils, toiletries, school supplies, shopping bags, rice bowls, dolls—were used, recycled, and saved. Meticulously arranged in careful groupings throughout the exhibition space, the objects form a miniature cityscape that viewers can navigate around and through. (@VanArtGallery)
Song Dong reported that his mother’s hoarding greatly intensified after his father died in 2002. Grief, depression, and the compulsion to fill an emotional void are present here, too. (Robin Laurence / @georgiastraight)
The exhibit shows not just a tradition of waste-not want-not, but an emotional response to lost love. Alex Pasternack @TreeHugger calls "hoarding an art form", but if you look closely, you'll see it's not a form of creativity, but more of a deeply rooted personal issue that likely stems from some sort of denial of an object. Well, at least that's what you'd say too if you watched Hoarders.
As I meandered thru the exhibition halls, I noticed one thing that was different this time. The sense of scale was much more intimate, it was a closeness that you could feel with the emotions that Zhao Xiangyuan had when she collected the objects. I mean, they're not that pretty.
What a great exhibit. Boy am I glad we renewed our Membership.