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Liang Shuo
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[ARTFORUM REVIEW]Liang Shuo: Temple of Candour

Liang Shuo's Temple of Candour, 2016, is a wild and aestheticized re-creation of the dilapidated monastery of the same name, which is described in Qing dynasty prose. No genuine traces of the temple are preserved at the original site, which gave the artist creative license in constructing an intricately detailed imaginary version. Upon entering, visitors see plant-like overgrowth that engulfs the entire exhibition space, creating a walking path. Liang’s handling of the white cube is deliberately rough and improvisational, and most of his materials are waste from the gallery’s previous exhibition or inventory already on hand. The resulting site-specific sculptural installation places visitors on a compulsory trajectory through the space and works like a camera lens to direct their gaze to picturesque scenes. Wooden packing crates are arranged like mountain trails; cardboard rocks fashion niches in a steel-bamboo forest; the ceiling is has a galaxy of small holes, which let dim light shine through. Following a series of whimsical encounters, the visitor arrives at the mountaintop to stand before a sublime Taihu Lake vista made of white wrapping-foam that stretches across the entire gallery floor.

 

China’s rapidly changing society has consistently presented new obstacles and challenged our capability to comprehend our own reality or ability to act freely. Liang’s exploration of recycled materials can be read as a political gesture, particularly with regard to the contradictions they pose to the refined gallery space. He also invites reflections on the built environment in general.

 

Text:Yuan Fuca