The ongoing thoughts of an art teacher in China - and home in Sydney

A continuing diary about my travels in China, and thoughts about China and Chinese art from home and abroad

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

leviathanation excites Year 8

Huang Yong Ping, Leviathanation, Tang Galleries, Beijing

My Year 8 students today were fascinated by Huang Yong Ping's gigantic installation 'Leviathanation', which I photographed at Tang Galleries in Beijing in March. I showed them half the image without any other information (the train carriage) and asked them to guess what was on the other side. Variously they thought "Godzilla', a 'giant caterpillar', 'a tiger' (quite prescient!), a human head, a spider (they have seen works by Louise Bourgeois!) and a whole range of other animals. When they saw the entire work they were amazed, and engaged in very animated conversations about how it was scary, funny, surprising, and overwhelming, and were able to suggest a surprisingly diverse list of possible meanings for the work. I am so interested to observe the reactions of young teenage students to contemporary art, as they come to it with such fresh eyes. Next lesson with this class we will write about the work using a range of critical thinking techniques. I am looking forward to this as they were so enthusiastic this morning that it just made my day. Among the many more tedious aspects of the working day I kept thinking about their open faces and their genuine spontaneous responses to the work. More on  this work and how students respond to it later!
Huang Yong Ping, Leviathanation, in Tang Galleries Beijing - note the tiger between fish and carriage!