The Pace Gallery’s two Chelsea locations are presenting a collection of works by Chinese artist Song Dong in an exhibition titled Doing Nothing. Dong has said that the title of this show references the Taoist concepts of “non-action” and “non-intention,” which require one to adopt a modest and humble lifestyle and abide by the natural and civilized order.
Dong’s ample and prolific body of work created over the past two decades called for use of two of Pace’s gallery spaces. One location at 534 W. 25th St., features Dong’s photography, paintings, performance art, videos, sculptures and other installations. The gallery’s other location a few doors away, devotes its space to Dong’s recent installation that was part of Documenta 13, an art fair that lasted 100 days in Kassel, Germany, last summer and fall.
The installation, known as Doing Nothing Mountains, is a life-size display composed of ceramic household tiles along with pieces that came from windows, doors and electrical outlets from homes located in Dong’s native Beijing. With this piece and many others, Dong illustrates the “wisdom of the poor” as Beijing’s poorest citizens find ways to create comfortable living conditions for themselves and their families.
Alongside this elaborate installation will be a video of another installation by the artist called Doing Nothing Garden, as it was displayed at Documenta 13. Standing 20 feet tall, this magnificent work of art stood in the middle of Karlsaue Park and was covered with weeds, flowers and a neon sign that read the words “Doing” and “Nothing” in Chinese characters. The piece itself was made from composted trash, as Dong believed THAT something so unattractive could be transformed into something extraordinary.
One notable work on display at the gallery’s 534 W. 25th St. location is an ongoing performance piece titled Throwing a Stone. Dong began work on this project in 1994; for the piece, he finds a stone, picks it up, writes on it and throws it far off into the distance, walks until he finds it and repeats until he cannot find it again.
At The Pace Gallery’s two Chelsea locations 510 W. 25th St., through Feb. 16., and 534 W. 25th St. through Feb. 23. Both locations are open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.