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January 20, 2024

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Pearl Art Museum hosts city’s first soil-themed exhibition

Transcending the boundaries of architecture, science and art, “In Praise of Soils” is the first major soil-themed exhibition to be held in Shanghai.

The exhibition, showing at Pearl Art Museum through March 17, presents a comprehensive perspective in the exploration of “earth,” a traditional ecological material.

Featuring rich “soil” elements, the show consists of five chapters from six Chinese and overseas artists and craftsmen, with 32 sets of more than 100 exhibits, involving various media such as installation, models, specimens, images and paintings.

“The exhibition breaks through the scope of architecture and strives to present a painting made from earth, from tradition to modernity, from materials to architecture, and from science to art,” said professor Mu Jun, co-curator and dean of the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at the Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture.

The moving line of the exhibition is connected through three key words — seeing, knowing and touching. The study of soil, construction with soil and art created with soil jointly create a world of soil that is irreplaceable in natural life, offering an experience of our natural symbiosis with soil from a new perspective.

The second chapter, “The Nature of Soil,” showcases the different properties of soil through various experimental results.

“Dwelling in the Soil,” the third chapter, leads the audience from traditional earthen houses to modern earth architecture, reflecting a comparison between ancient and modern ramming techniques.

The spotlight goes to the fourth chapter, “Earth and Art,’ that focuses on the new forms of soil in the field of art.

The piece created by Swiss artist Katja Schenker is impressive. Schenker often uses natural materials such as soil and minerals for her artistic expression.

“Dress” is a women’s dress made of cement, as well as a documentary of herself wearing it to engage in behavioral performance. She examines her body and the surrounding environment through a conversation with minerals and nature.




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