The ark above was created to serve as a “public art intervention,” as well as a means of drumming up anticipation for the Shanghai Power Station of Art‘s upcoming exhibition “The Ninth Wave.” Guo-Qiang’s installation depicts an ark-like boat overflowing with 99 animals, seemingly clamoring for safety, land, or maybe even survival. Guo-Qiang had the ark placed on a barge that made its way down the Huangpu River in order to raise local awareness of the pollution issues facing Shanghai.
Here is a full description of Guo-Qiang’s installation from Hyperallergenic:
Camels, pandas, polar bears, leopards, and zebras clung helplessly to the dilapidated hull. For most passersby, the scene likely evoked either Noah’s ark or a memory of the 16,000 pig carcasses that floated down the polluted Yangtze tributary — which supplies water to 26 million people in Shanghai — last spring.
The installation references and shares its name with 17th century painter Ivan Aivazovsky’s 1850 piece “The Ninth Wave.” Aivazovsky’s painting may not have had the same social and political implications, but the influence is evident.
The installation is important for both Cai Guo-Qiang and the Chinese art scene, as it is the first major show of a living artist at China’s first publicly funded institution for contemporary art. “The Ninth Wave” launches August 8 at Shanghai’s Powerstation of Art. You can get more info on the exhibition as well as ticket information HERE.