The Shore Where We Can Reach—Xiang Yang Art Sailing Proposal Exhibition

The Shore Where We Can Reach—Xiang Yang Art Sailing Proposal Exhibition

Location: Kusakabe Port, Shodoshima


Exhibited Works: The Shore Where We Can Reach, 7 Layers of 7, Dust in Evolution-Fukui House, drawings, videos, photos, computer graphic images, a wood model, etc.

Location: Kusakabe Port, Shodoshima

Time: Spring, Summer and Autumn Session of Setouchi Triennale 2019


The Shore Where We Can Reach—Xiang Yang Art Sailing Proposal Exhibition,  will be the first time of Xiang Yang’s large public artworks showing in Japan. It will focus on Xiang’s ideas and works since he made his decision on art sailing in 2015. The exhibition will include 3 large outdoor architectural installations: “The Shore Where We Can Reach” and “7 Layers of 7” showing in the spring session, and another 27-meter-long installation showing in the summer session of the Triennale. There will also be artist’s drawings, photos, videos and an artist’s hand-made model exhibiting in Tengawa(天川) and Fukui(福井) House. In “The Shore Where We Can Reach—Xiang Yang Art Sailing Proposal”, visitors will be able to view the artist’s ideas and plans toward art sailing since he made the decision in 2015.

The major piece of this exhibition, “The Shore Where We Can Reach”, built after 2015, has been exhibited in Beijing, Darmstadt and Pingyao. Now in Setouchi Triennale, this grand-scaled installation is a composition of old, discarded Chinese furniture and two fishing boats from Xiang’s hometown. The reconstructed furniture and boat lose their original function during the transformation. The new body becomes an abstract architectural space, which allows the visitors to explore and experience the artwork with their own understandings.

Boat expresses strong symbolism both in Eastern and Western culture: in Buddhism, it is an ark that transports human sufferings to the peaceful world; in Taoism, it is a metaphor for renouncing the secular. There are tales relating to an ark saving creatures on the Earth in many Western religions. In the late 60’s, Xiang Yang’s mother took 2-year-old Xiang on a small fishing boat sailing from his hometown to search for Xiang’s father, who had fled from the chaotic age. Therefore, in Xiang’s mind, boat embodies a journey searching for a peaceful shore and a spiritual home.

Beside viewing this artwork, Xiang Yang heightens the exploratory participation inside the space. He hopes viewers can apply to stay overnight in the artwork, or to hold cultural activities. To Xiang Yang, the social interaction is an alternate perspective and way to converse with the artwork. This is also what he expects on his future art sailing project.

There will be a tower-shape architectural installation, titled “7 Layers of 7”, making its debut in the Setouchi Triennale. Presented as a tower shape, however, this installation will be a part of the architecture for Xiang Yang’s future sailing project. Most of the materials of the installations featured in this exhibition are old or broken Chinese wood furniture and wooden pieces from old houses. Xiang Yang carefully cleaned, polished and disassembled them, and then reconstructed them into a new art and architecture form.

During Xiang Yang’s staying in Japan, he will be creating a site-specific work in an historical Japanese house “Fukui House”. Artist uses old photos relating with local history and humanity in his  “Dust in Evolution” series. “By presenting the images of local people in this island, the viewers now have become the subject of this piece. There is a sense of past coming into present,” said the artist.

“The Shore Where We Can Reach—Xiang Yang Art Sailing Proposal Exhibition” aims to show the individual ideas and parts of Xiang Yang’s future art sailing project. It is also a summary of the artist’s detailed thinking toward his project, and a discussion/participation of the openness of contemporary art.

Ocean is so close. Like a sailor studying and planning his route before sailing, to Xiang Yang, exhibiting his installations in Shodoshima, Setouchi provides him a chance to display and to examine his thoughts on art sailing thoroughly. It will better prepare this poetic and ambitious art sailing project in future.