Saturday, February 5, 2011

Méditeranée at the Oceanographic Museum, Monaco

(Wu Zei by Huang Yong Ping. Photo courtesy of e-flux)

The Oceanographic Museum in Monaco presents an exhibition celebrating the Mediterranean sea. Bringing contemporary art and science together, this exhibition presents a series of maritime objects that illustrate the rich biodiversity and complexity of sea life.

This exhibition also presents a monumental installation by the Sing-Franco artist Huang Yong Ping. The installation consists of a 25 meter hybrid creation - the combination of an octopus and a cuttlefish that engulfs a Medusa-esque chandelier created by the German biologist, philosopher and free thinker Ernst Haekle. The octu-fish devours the chandelier while spreading its tentacles along the ceiling of the museum, stretching out and around the room, taking it over with it's presence.

The title "Wu Zei" is quite ambiguous. In Chinese "Wu Zei" means cuttlefish while the characters for Wu and Zei also connote different things: the colour black and stealing respectively. Yong Ping simultaneously eludes to urbanization of the coast of the Mediterranean sea, recent oil spill disasters and the omnipresence of global warming and climate change. Being one of the world's richest reservoirs of biodiversity, the Mediterranean is also one the places most at risk for corruption, pollution and disaster.

Finally, I will venture, unsurely into the land of Rancièrean discourse, that this could be an interesting example of the paradox of the aesthetic regime of art combining art and non-art, and the heteronomy and autonomy of art in an installation political engaged (the politics part is fuzzy, being a little too obvious; its very obviously politically engaged... in the politics of our ever increasingly fragile environment... however, i'm as yet, learning!)

20 November 2010 - 20 May 2012

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