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January 2019, English/Chinese
19×25 cm, 360 pages, 45 color and 36 b/w ill., softcover
ISBN 978-3-95679-435-3
Lai Fei, Connie Kang
Wang Jiayi
Rockbund Art Museum

The catalogue for Song Dong's solo exhibition at the Rockbund Art Museum in mainland China reveals the artworks presented in the exhibition "I Don't Know the Mandate of Heaven." The title of the catalogue and the exhibition is a fitting reference to Confucius' famous aphorism in the Analects. The reference to Confucius accentuates Song's preoccupations with Chinese traditions and the inherited wisdom of the common people. At the same time, the playfulness owes more to the predominance of Zen and Taoist themes in his work. Throughout his career, humble objects from everyday life have formed the core material of his often transformative and elaborate creations. Though the present production is no exception, its organization has a decidedly classical flavor. The artworks presented in this catalogue were built up as a dense, multilayered, crisscrossed narrative that blurs and circumvents any pretensions of meta-discourse, truth, or ideology, opening the artist's work to surprising connections and interpretations. With this project, Song Dong demonstrated how his oeuvre was not about objects identified solely as sculpture, video, painting, concept, or performance, but, as he brilliantly revealed, the absolute necessity to embrace, experience, and face any "realistic" situation to overcome and unveil it as an entire system of representation with its trappings, codes, blackouts, exclusions, and possibilities.

This project was co-curated by Liu Yingjiu and Xu Tiantian in 2016-2017. In this catalogue, Doryun Chong, Feng Boyi, Wu Hung, Zhao Song, and Liu Yingjiu all contributed articles expressing their thoughts on the artist's artistic practice from different perspectives.