2,200 glass bricks have been stacked to create a wall
image
courtesy of marcel lam and shan shan sheng

shan shan sheng's the 'open wall project' at the venice art biennale, makes suggestions to the
contemporary opening of china to the global economy and stands as a place for the unprecedented
exchange of ideas. the sculpture which is meant to be a reconstruct of the great wall of china,
indicates moments of transparency and opacity, marking this critical intersection of chinese
and western culture.

located along venice's historic grand canal, the temporary pavilion is made up of 2,200 stacked
glass bricks, each brick represents the number of years which it took to build the great wall.
the glass blocks become a kind of cultural currency which can be moved, redistributed,
subtracted and added duration of the installation, expressing the transitory process of globalization.


illuminated at night
image courtesy of marcel lam and shan shan sheng


image courtesy of marcel lam and shan shan sheng


image courtesy of marcel lam and shan shan sheng


the blocks are intermittent with layers of red, yellow and gold
image courtesy of marcel lam and shan shan sheng


image courtesy of marcel lam and shan shan sheng


a detailed look at the engravings of each brick
image courtesy of marcel lam and shan shan sheng

each brick is engraved with a date and its corresponding chinese lunar year. the dates are meant to
signify historical moments which have been witnessed by the great wall. 564 BC was the year
the great wall's construction began and 1254 AD was the birth year of marco polo,
china's link to venice.


image courtesy of shan shan sheng

the bricks of the great wall, when laid out lengthwise edge to edge, could span the entire globe.
sheng has used glass bricks which are the same size as those that were used to build he great wall.


image courtesy of shan shan sheng


concept models of the open wall
image courtesy of shan shan sheng


image courtesy of shan shan sheng


image courtesy of shan shan sheng


image courtesy of shan shan sheng

shan shan sheng was born in shanghai, china and grew up surviving the cultural revolution.
in 1982 she went to the united states to pursue her academic and artistic interests,
and has since had over twenty one-woman shows in europe, asia and america.
she now lives and works in san francisco.

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