Anew exhibition that examines Chinese architecture via history and literature Rumor of China Towns: Chinese Architecture 2004 curated by Ann Yu-Chien (
This is not a typically boring architectural exhibition filled with white foam-core models and framed Computer Aided Design (CAD) drawings. Instead, the work is innovatively presented like contemporary art: fun installations to look at while being thoroughly engaging and provocative.
An exhibition that deals specifically with Chinese architecture automatically brings to mind some of the research led by Rem Koolhaus. In his book Project of the City , an interesting statistic emerges: "There is one-tenth the number of architects in China compared with the US, designing five times the volume of projects. This implies an efficiency of 2,500 times that of an American architect."
This exhibition not only alludes to the present frenzy of urbanization in the Chinese world, but refers back to historical events such as the nomadic raids on cities during Genghis Khan's 13th century reign and to the classic novel Dream of the Red Chamber by Cao Xueqin (
The first part of the exhibition relates to the novel's idyllic garden. Hong Kong-based Gary Chang (
Taipei-based Chien Hsueh-yi's (簡學義) Meta-architecture is a smartly installed presentation of small black-and-white slides of his projects, along with floor-to-ceiling projections. The projections themselves become a part of the room's architecture. Not only is the image a picture of his work, the image becomes a wall of the room, thus the work is continuously referring to itself as art, architecture, memory and structure.
Ilan-based Huang Sheng-Yuan's (黃聲遠) walk-through installations of plastic-covered wooden planks, net-enmeshed TV sets and a mish-mash of building detritus gives the effect of both a construction site and a disaster zone. The incredible ambiguous mess makes us question whether this is a "before" or "after" site and it is that uncertainty that gives this work such a seductive quality, as it has a sense of being lived in.
Also included are architects from China: Chang Yung Ho (
The more perilous works embody the "Yellow Peril" section: Lin Sheng-feng's (
However, the duo of Grace Chang(