The globe-spanning designs of MAD Architects are the subject of a new retrospective exhibition being staged at the Shenzhen Museum of Contemporary Art and Urban Planning (MoCAUP) that promises viewers an interesting take on the relationship cities have with time, history, and nature.
Under the title "Ma Yansong: Landscapes in Motion," the exhibition breaks down nearly twenty years of work into a multi-faceted display of 52 total projects spread across a 32,000-square-foot space and divided into four "Chapters." MAD says they intend to have their philosophies on nature, architecture, and urban development showcased through the exhibition. The ultimate goal is to raise public awareness about the role citizens can share in the creation and development of their community.
“Architecture and cities are not abstract scientific technologies but real settings where life unfolds. They represent feelings, ambience, and time. They carry traits of living beings; thus they are full of energy, flow, dynamism, and uncertainty. Architecture is alive, growing with the earth, endowed with life, rich in emotions, perceptive of time, and compassionate to everything. The goal of this exhibition is to use architecture as a conduit to explore cultural life, allowing us to probe our inner selves while observing the dynamic, diverse, and fluid cultural landscape of contemporary society,” Ma Yansong, the studio’s founder and principal partner along with Dang Qun and Yosuke Hayano, said in a preview.
A compilation of 180 employees’ answers to an internal prompt compiled by the firm welcomes visitors to the exhibition via a large circular meeting table. It is followed immediately by the first “Dialogue” chapter, which presents seven public building and civic space designs along with three probing questions related to cities, Chinese development plans, and the future.
The second “Progress” chapter unpacks designs for the Zhongguancun Forum Congress Center and others that are evocative of the idealized “future city.” The third chapter, “Feelings are Facts,” expands the line of questioning by introducing another 15 design and land art projects, including 2018's Tunnel and Light. Finally, the exhibition concludes in the fourth chapter, “Rhapsody,” which weaves together 12 more projects into one singular statement on the reality of urban life in the 21st century.
Yansong concludes: “The work of MAD is like a rhapsody, representing a rebellious and critical attitude. It also manifests an opposition to a generic pattern, goal, form, or language. I am intrigued by responding to the real world with diverse, genuine, and positive emotions.”
This represents the MoCAUP’s first-ever solo exhibition since opening in 2016. The final day to experience the show is December 17, 2023.
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