The impact of the cultural revolution on his family and the drastic ongoing demolition of his home city of Beijing are recurring themes in the work of Song Dong. This is also the case with the monumental installation that Song Dong created beside St Salvator Cathedral. The installation is based on the traditional art of bonsai, whereby man endeavours to dominate and control nature.
In a dialogue with Bruges’ historical heritage, Song Dong refers to the situation in his own country, where heritage is handled in a dramatically different way. Historic palaces, temples and entire neighbourhoods are being destroyed to make way for skyscrapers and shopping centres. Ironically, the original buildings are sometimes replicated.
Song Dong created a Chinese rock garden in Bruges, in which he integrated old windows, that he saved from destruction. The windows simultaneously evoke stories and memories from the past, the present and the future of the city. The large neon letters 'Wu Wei' or 'doing by not doing', encouraged us to go with the flow of things. An invitation to reflection or an implicit criticism?
Song Dong (b. 1966, Beijing, CN) grew up in a prosperous, traditional family that was plunged into poverty by economic and social developments in China. During the Cultural Revolution, his father was placed in a re-education camp.