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The Time Vivarium - Silk Book 2

Sun Xun

Asian Art

Sun Xun often discusses how history is a tool that can be manipulated by either the government, or an artist, to serve different goals. His father, prosecuted during political campaigns in the 1960s, was a factory worker. The personal histories told to Sun at home contrasted sharply with the versions taught in school. In 2013, Sun came to New York as part of an artist residency and visited the American Museum of Natural History. He compared the dioramas in the museum to Chinese official histories and accounts of the past, in which the content was manipulated to fit a prescribed narrative. He wrote, “The exhibits, like state history, are designed with a sociopolitical agenda, heavily influencing notions of cultural identity.” Unlike the dioramas, The Time Vivarium will be by definition “a place of life” with different chapters that form the series, some focusing on museums of history and others on museums of “prejudice history.” Sun asks, “Which history does China wish to remember and which does it seek to be part of?”

Sun’s inscriptions in the folding book were written in dialogue with the scenes depicted in it:

My solo exhibition in New York was at the end of 2013. The exhibition was called Time Vivarium. I was enlightened by my father’s memory of the Cultural Revolution in his youth. At this time last year, I visited New York to find clues for the exhibition. The Natural History Museum gave me a lot of inspiration.
Man’s attitude is very important, whether it is toward nature or history. Different cultures cultivate different worldviews.
Sometimes cultures are just like magic and can completely alter everything.
The universe in early morning
Memory of Father
Dimension of Memory
Freedom Island
There is also a Statue of Liberty in Tokyo.
—Sun Xun, New York, December 2014
MEDIUM Ink and acrylic on silk
DATES 2014
DIMENSIONS closed: 18 3/8 x 14 x 2 7/8 in. (46.7 x 35.6 x 7.3 cm) open: 18 1/4 x 194 in. (46.4 x 492.8 cm)
INSCRIPTIONS [Right to left] 癸巳岁末适逢纽约个展在即,展览名称为时间公园。灵感皆来自家父青年时期文化革命之回忆。去年此时我前往纽约寻找展览之线索。其中自然历史博物馆对我启发很大。无论于自然还是历史,人的态度很重要。 My solo exhibition in New York is occuring by the end of 2013. The exhibition was called Time Park/Vivarium. I was enlightened by my father's memory of the Cultural Revolution in his youth. At this time last year I visited New York to find clues for the exhibition. The Natural History Museum gave me a lot of inspiration. Man's attitude is very important, whether it is towards nature or history. 巫肺领地 Witch Territory 不同的文化 造就不同的世 界观人的态度 隐藏在万物之中 Different cultures cultivate different world-views. People's attitude can be found in all living things. 年年有鱼(余) lit: Every year have fish Every year have enough 文化在有的时候就像巫术可以改变一切。 Sometimes cultures are just like magic that can completely alter everything. 恍若隔世 as different as if a lifetime had passed 乾坤暮晨 The universe in early morning 父亲的回忆 Memory of father 记忆之维度 Dimension of memory 自由岛 Freedom Island 东京也有自由女神像 There also is a Statue of Liberty in Tokyo. 语言中的现实 The reality in languages 大独裁者 A Dictator 戏剧 Drama 对于文化和艺术,哪怕是面对整个世界, 最重要的莫过于心不在焉。 When talking about culture and art, even if you've encountered/experienced the whole world, the most important thing is to see it in an absent-minded way/not to take it too seriously 孙逊于纽约 Sun Xun in New York December 2014
COLLECTIONS Asian Art
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
ACCESSION NUMBER 2015.46
CREDIT LINE Gift of Stanley Love and Sylvia Mitchell, by exchange, Robert A. Levinson Fund, Emily Winthrop Miles Fund, Alfred T. White Fund, and Designated Purchase Fund
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