On February 23, a crane deposited Zhan Wang's 11-ton sculpture Artificial Rock #133 on the museum's front lawn. The work is part of the Honolulu Biennial: Middle of Now | Here, presented by Honolulu Biennial Foundation and The Howard Hughes Corporation, which is based at the former Sports Authority space in Ward Village and includes installations at locations throughout the city.
Beijing-born Zhan Wang, one of China’s superstar Conceptual sculptors, has taken the fantastically eroded rocks revered by Chinese scholars since the eighth century and updated it for the 21st century by re-creating the scholar’s rock in an industrial medium—stainless steel. Artificial Rock #133 comprises the real rock alongside Zhan’s cast. The artist molds sheets of the metal around the surface of a traditional scholar’s rock (also known as “strange stone”), removes the sheets, welds them together, and burnishes the surface. Directly playing off the 17th-century scholar’s stone on view in our China Gallery, Zhan’s Artificial Rock #133 challenges us to think about tradition—and how our notions of it continues to evolve in the contemporary world.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website