Visionary artist Daniel Arsham has just opened his first solo exhibition at the UCCA Dune Art Museum. Sands of Time, is the title of the exhibition that will remain open to the public until 10 October 2021 and offers a journey of discovery into the imagination and art of one of the most renowned and appreciated contemporary artists.
Born in 1980, Daniel Arsham was born in Cleveland and now lives and works in New York. His aesthetics and his entire artistic production is rooted in the concept of fictitious archaeology: the artist stages what he himself calls “future archaeology” through the representation and reinterpretation of works from the past.
The same philosophy returns in Sands of Time, which presents a series of 12 sculptures and some drawings reproducing classical sculptures: the care and attention to detail was made possible thanks to the opportunity the artist was given to access the moulds present at the Réunion des Musées Nationaux, which include masterpieces from the collections of the Louvre and the Vatican Museums. Thus we find a statue of Lorenzo de Medici, the Roman God of war Ares Borghese, the Greek God Apollo Belvedere and the Roman Goddess of wild animals and the hunt Diana.
As always, however, the works are represented as if they were found in the distant future, with some parts deteriorated and crystals having formed all over the surface.
With this futuristic representation, Daniel Arsham invites the viewer to change his point of view and to reflect on how important it is today to dig for treasures that we do not yet know exist.
To showcase this there could be no better place than the UCCA Dune Art Museum. Opened in 2018 some 300 kilometres east of Beijing, overlooking the Bohai Sea in Beidaihe, the museum was designed by Open Architecture and is almost entirely buried under a sand dune. The rooms look like caves where light enters through skylights in the ceiling or through huge openings overlooking the beach, and where visitors can walk on floors covered with coloured sand ranging from white to blue.
“Unearthed Bronze Eroded Melpomene“, the artist’s largest bronze work, rests on the same sand. It is an enormous head that could simply be resting on the sand or it could be an entire body yet to be discovered.