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Borrowed Views


July 5 – August 25, 2001

Borrowed Views, Installation view

Borrowed Views

Installation view

The title of the exhibition, Borrowed Views, derives from a term widely used in Chinese and later, Japanese garden design in which the limited space of a garden can be vastly expanded in the imagination by "borrowing" a distant view. Placing the emphasis on fantastic rocks and water rather than on flowers, Chinese gardens could be seen as microcosms of the universe.

The concept of "borrowing" was not limited to the exterior world. In interior design, the arrangement of individual rooms and public spaces was relatively standardized, but space was enlivened by the use of ingeniously designed screens and windows which were used to subdivide space at the same time as they expanded it and added elements of mystery.

In the current exhibition, architectural elements - windows and door panels -from buildings of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912) are used to create an environment which recreates the elegance and mystery of classical Chinese interiors. Beyond lattices and screens can be seen glimpses of domestic interiors and scholar's accoutrements, "borrowed" for the occasion, as well as works by a selection of contemporary artists. Chen Guangwu, Zhan Wang and Lu Shengzhong respond in highly individual ways to aspects of traditional Chinese culture. References to the contemporary world are more apparent in the Hong Hao's riotous political commentaries and in Rong Rong's haunting reveries. Displayed in this environment, these works are approached indirectly, adding to their multiple layers of associations.

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