Megacities Asia

Sculpting urban reality

Currently at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and running through July 17, 2016, Megacities Asia explores the accelerated rise of urbanization in cities with populations of more than ten million, and how during the last five decades of rapid growth has affected the lives of their inhabitants. The works created by 11 artists in this show is an assemblage of  their observations and responses to the political, environmental, and social conditions of their home cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Delhi, Mumbai, and Seoul that convey the distinct textures, proportions, and materials that each artist encounters and uses in daily life—from dishes, to doors to plastic bags to construction refuse—which are turned into immersive sculptures.

According to the museum’s press materials, among the sculptures on exhibit is Delhi artist Subodh Gupta’s Take off your shoes and wash your hands (2008) depicting consumption : a wall of stainless-steel utensils found in urban Indian kitchens. In Alchemy (2016), Choi Jeong Hwa’s installation is comprised of inexpensive plastic objects from markets and 99-cent stores, while Delhi’s Asim Waqif and South Korea’s artist collective flyingCity are inspired by the construction that surrounds them—from bamboo scaffoldings of construction projects, to the metal parts churned out by machinists in central Seoul trying to compete in a global market.

Mumbai’s Aaditi Joshi collects plastic bags and finds beauty in them despite their enviromental threat, and Yin Xiuzhen alters rubble left behind by demolition around Beijing. Using cast aside historic objects as new construction dominates their cities, Song Dong’s Wisdom of the Poor: Living with Pigeons (2005–6) takes reclaimed parts from traditional hutong courtyard houses and creates interactive architectural sculptures, recalling how Beijing families extended their cramped living spaces into rooftop pigeon coops. Shanghai-based Hu Xiangcheng’s constructions find a new life in windows and doors salvaged from dismantled Ming- and Qing-era houses. Seoul’s Han Seok Hyun creates a landscape of green products in Super-Natural (2011/2016)—consisting of bottles of rice wine and packages of dishwashing detergents, which questions how Seoul’s growing environmental consciousness can be reconciled with its advancing urban development.

For more information, visit Museum of Fine Arts, Boston:



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