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Upside-down Himalayas

DRAMATIC outsize artworks about sustainable development in China - including inverted mountains - are on exhibition in Zendai Museum of Modern Art through October 5.

The exhibition titled "Updating China" features 20 works by Chinese and German artists and architects. It is presented by the Urban Academy, A Chinese-German forum on sustainable urban development.

Zendai MOMA is also known as the Himalayas Art Museum.

"There is no other place in the world where cities are growing as fast as in China and consequently where so many urgent problems are encountered in the course of this growth," said Peter Ramsauer, Germany's federal minister for transport, building and urban development.

The exhibition aims to raise awareness about the state of the natural environment and daily living environment. Many of the works are made with lumber from construction sites, paper cups, cans with ring pull tops, bicycles and even medical syringes, all recycled.

Discarded and recycled aluminum cans with ring pull tops are used as construction materials for the Can Cube house exhibit.

The Can Cube building is low tech and easy to construct, saving on materials and energy. It uses solar energy and centralized air shafts.

Medical syringes are used to symbolize healing and good medical care as well as dangerous counterfeit drugs that appear in a get-rich-quick, market-oriented medical care system.

A work by Yin Jia features three black human figures reaching upward to the light; all are "stabbed" with hundreds of still-protruding medical syringes. The work aims to raise awareness of personal health in danger at a time of rapid economic development.

One striking sculpture work "inverts" the Himalayas, which are an essential source of water, so that white mountains "hang" in peaks and billows from the ceiling. Climate change and global warming are melting the Himalayas and its precious glaciers are receding.

The work aims to provoke thinking about ecology.

"On the one hand it can still illustrate the contours and symbolic properties of the Himalayas. On the other hand such an upward view of inverted Himalayas brings a surreal touch to the meaning of the work," said Yuan Feng, the creator.

"Updating China" is a thought-provoking exhibition about the ideals of sustainable development and the realities in contemporary China.

Date: September 5-October 5

Address: Himalayas Art Museum (22, Lane 99, Fangdian Road, Pudong)


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