When we talk about conceptual art, a name that is hardly on the spotlight is Huang Yong Ping, a peculiar artist better known for his large-scale installations carrying socio-political allegories, such as “Empires”. His latest colossal work is showing at the 2016 edition of Monumenta in the Grand Palais.
Through this gigantic effort, Huang Yong Ping explores the current global power system driven solely by economics and trade. His colorful composition displays enormous metal containers emblazoned with keywords which allude to the world’s authorities. Arranged in eight piles rising high as skyscrapers they occupy the entire surface of its equally colossal venue. A massive snake skeleton churns between the structures representing the imminent fragility of power. Right in the center of the platform, one last element finishing off the composition is a large-scale replica of a hat worn by Napoleon at the battle of Eylau, as a symbol of the supremacy of the men in power.
The installation is immersive as it impressive, requiring a very precise planning by the artist and his collaborators. The tasks of stacking 305 metal cargo containers and suspending the 254m long and 130-ton aluminum skeleton structure were a true challenge, letting no opportunity for leaving anything to chance.
Huang Yong Ping was born in China in 1954. At the age of 35, he came to Paris for the “Magicians of the Earth” exhibit at the Centre Pompidou, soon after which he became one of China’s most avant-garde artists. Being a self-taught thinker, he has always shown great interest in philosophy, constantly questioning the driving forces of globalization and imprinting them on his colossal artworks.
Monumenta is a month-long annual exhibition showcasing the talent of a single conceptual artist on the 13,500 sqm surface of the Grand Palais. Since its inception in 2007, the exhibit has hosted the works of artists like Ilia and Emilia Kabakov, Daniel Buren, Anish Kapoor, Christian Boltanski and Richard Serra. This year’s edition opened in May 8 and will run until June 18, 2016.
Written by David Requena