Cina - He Gong

He Gong, an artist from the Tibetan region of Aba who lives between Chengdu and the United States, contributes to the new trend of Chinese arts with works that have a marked ironic character. At the moment the series Save Venice includes two works, both on show in Venice. The first is a paradoxical dam, brought from the heart of Asia to replace the Mose which is continuously delayed, and shown at the 54th Art Biennale in the collateral event Cracked Culture? The Quest for Identity in Contemporary Chinese Art. This Asian dam, intended to protect us against a sea of gossip, is made of an unusual material, yak dung, a product in absolute harmony with natural rhythms and of which the inhabitants of Tibet, at an altitude of 5,000 metres, make the best possible use: compressed into slabs, it is used as fuel or as building material. The long journey made by this original material to reach its destination in the West, and the troubled political relationship between Tibet and China are an integral part of the work’s message.

Save Venice #2, made especially for OPEN 14, makes use of a completely western material, linked to the sea by a strong literary and symbolic tie: the empty bottle. Save Venice #2 is a bunker made of bottles, its structure may call to mind nuraghi, trulli and other archaic domed structures, or a machine gun nest. The mouths of the bottles face the outside, to receive any rescue messages that visitors may want to write and insert in the neck: Utopias, desires, romantic dreams that are or might be lived in Venice. At the end of the exhibition, some of the bottles may be corked and cast into the sea with their respective messages.


Text by
Gloria Vallese