Song Dong

Through the Wall, 2016

Installation
old windows, lighting, iron frame
460.0 × 225.0 × 901.0 Size (cm)
181.1 × 88.6 × 354.7 Size (in)
Basel 2017

Referencing tangible and intangible walls – virtual, political, and cultural, among others – Song Dong’s Through the Wall challenges the notion of a boundary as impenetrable. The installation is composed of salvaged door and window frames from houses in Beijing, many of which made up the historic hutong neighborhoods that are increasingly being destroyed in favor of new construction. These materials resurface throughout the artist’s body of sculptural work, and relate to themes of consumption, accumulation, and waste. The work reflects on the ways in which the contrast of historic and contemporary forces can shape a viewer’s experience. It redefines the solidity of a wall: Reaching 15 feet high and 29 feet long, its doors open to reveal an interior space within, allowing viewers to walk through it. The transparent glass of the windows has been replaced with color-tinted mirrors on the exterior and colorless mirrored glass on the interior. Densely arranged lamps are reflected in the mirrored walls and floor, creating a mise en abyme, an illusion of endless space.