Song Dong

Born 1966 in Beijing, China. Lives and works in Beijing, China.

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Eating the City

Cookies, loose candies, chocolate sauce, peanut butter

In 1989, Song Dong graduated from the oil painting department at the College of Fine Arts at Capital Normal University. He currently lives and works in Beijing. He is one of China’s most intellectual and active experimental artists. He blends his experiences and memories, the rapid changes in Chinese cities, and his rich imagination, then he presents the results in numerous media that freely transcend existing boundaries. Many of Song Dong’s works are related to food, and “Eating the City” is a project he has enacted in cities around the world. In each city, he purchases food items of different colors, such as cookies, candy, butter, and chocolate sauce. Then, he invites local volunteers to build a model of their city and encourages viewers to consume the installation at the opening. This artwork presents both the lure of sugar and the power of audience participation, which give the piece two meanings. Humans long for beautiful cities, a desire that destroys the original form of those cities, but these cities also pave the way for unfettered consumer demand. All of this reflects the desires that lie behind consumption behaviors, desires that humanity can never realize, reminding us that human life is limited, brief, and unflinching.

Text: Feng Boyi