Song Dong (b. 1966, Beijing, China) emerged from a strong Chinese avant-garde performing arts community and developed into a significant contemporary art figure in the progression of Chinese conceptual art. His work, which is often in collaboration with his wife and fellow Chinese artist Yin Xiuzhen, ranges from performance and video to photography and sculpture. Song explores themes of memory, self-expression, impermanence, and the transience of human endeavors.
Song has been the subject of over thirty monographic exhibitions including Life is Art, Art is Life, a retrospective held at the Groninger Museum, the Netherlands (2015). Recent exhibitions include solo shows at Kunsthalle Düsseldorf (2015); A World in A Well, chi K11 Art Space, Shanghai (2016); I Don’t Know the Mandate of Heaven, Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai (2017); Eating the City, Mana Contemporary, Jersey City, New Jersey (2017); and Odi, La Scène, Palais des Académies, Brussels (2018).
Song Dong lives in constant exploration of the relation between art and everyday life. Not only a question of form, this relation is also about the fulfillment of action. The artist has even gone so far as to summon his own family members – including his parents, wife and daughter – to participate in these actions. With the current evolution of a quickly changing contemporary art from a kind of form to a way of life, and with the influx of popular culture, people are beginning to reconsider how art had previously been in a “lofty” position removed from everyday life.
From Beuys’ “social sculpture” and Rirkrit Tiravanija’s relational aesthetics to Andy Warhol’s “Ads” and Takashi Murakami’s “Superflat” concept, artists have made every sort of strenuous effort to formalize everyday life. From another perspective, they have also become the guardians of artistic purity against trivial everyday life. Among these guardians is Song Dong, whose fulfillment of action is interesting. His formalization of everyday life is never one hundred percent; in the process, he always creates a “goof” (a mistake), and likewise leaves room for everyday life. This “accommodation” is his attempt at opening up an actual space for the non-ideational concept that “art is life, life is art.” ”A Blot on the Landscape” is precisely this sort of fulfillment, except that here, the “goof” has been placed within the form of traditional culture.