Tang Nannan's Art
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Sculpture and video installation|180x50x35cm,2015


A statue stands, with his face to the wall, gazing at the only existent oil barrel in the Chinese Pavilion. A projector inside his eyes projects the seascape onto the exterior of the barrel. As a matter of fact, whatever he is looking at, all he sees is the ocean in his heart. Far as the sight of an ocean-observer can reach, all he sees is his inner world. The inner world and the outer world confront each other in this work. As Wang Yangming put it: “Keeping your eyes away, the flower falls to quietude along with you; Once you have your eyes on it, the flower gets brightened up so that you realize that it is inside your heart.” 











INSTALLATION|Size variable 2015


The material of Growing Soil – Hard Brick is construction waste from beaches. Fragments of cemented red bricks have gained cobble- like, smooth, and rounded appearances after 30 years of seawater polishing. Tons of such cobbles collected from coastal areas are scattered everywhere in the exhibition hall as well as piled up by the wall outside the hall, unified with the exterior red brick wall of the Chinese Pavilion in the Giardino delle Verigini as if the lower part of the brick wall were polished into cobbles by seawater. Crafted by nature and human together, these “cobble-like bricks” are something between non-art, art-to-be, and art, and turn the whole collection of works in the Chinese Pavilion to a site of Total Art. “Growing Soil” is a magic potion used by the unsuccessful hero in Chinese mythology, “Gun”, to control the floods. Gun’s failure serves the success of his son, Yu the Great. The growth of Growing Soil and the rights and wrongs of the two men epitomize the unremitting spirit. Growing Soil is the best gift for Venice, a city threatened by sinking. 

Like a Rolling Stone

Porcelain heads from the Song Dynasty|


Like a Rolling Stone


Porcelain heads from the Song Dynasty, simulated planets, bird eggs, green eggs

Size variable


In May, Zhang Gezhan and I traveled southwest of China by car. We went to Loudi, Tongdao, Fenghuang, Chadong and Anhua. At the border of Yunnan, Guizhou and Hunan provinces, we saw three bald old people arguing about the origin of “dragon boat race”. We were touched and decided to head north to Miluo for finding the relics of Qu Yuan and tracing the past.

In June, at Qingshuitang in Changsha, we met the young antique dealer Yanyang Gaozhao. Then, we saw three pieces of porcelain head from the Song Dynasty. They looked exquisite, serene and thoughtful, which were unforgettable.

In July, when finding the Qu Yuan’s 12 suspicious graves, a partridge was startled up from the grass and then we found a nest of bird eggs and a blue cap of mineral water bottle in the grass. Two hours later, we found a 40mm stone near the Miluo River and then we wrote "怀石 2018" on it.

In August, I read the history of Chu in Guanshan, Hangzhou, and found that many people especially the top officials in Chu have committed suicide for the country, such as Qu Xia, Zi Yu, Zi Xi, Zi Nang, Zi Fan, Sima Yuanyue, Shen Yirong, Xiang Yan. A few years later, Xiang Yu, a native of Chu, committed suicide in Wujiang River. After 2,149 years, in Chadong, Fenghuang, the father of Cuicui committed suicide. A few years later, the famous anti-Japanese general Zuo Quan, Li Bifan and Xiao Shanling committed suicide for the country.

In September, when I was traveling in West Lake with my family, my 90-year-old father made a couplet, and the 3-year-old nephew Tang Zeng forgot a set of simulated solar planets in my studio.

In October, I led a team to Shanxi to conduct the cultural relics investigation. I met Zhou Quan, a young scholar and collector who took me through the Chu Bamboo Slips of the Han and Three Kingdoms Period and helped me to borrow 11 pieces of porcelain head from the Song Dynasty.

In November, He Jiankui, an associate professor at Southern University of Science and Technology, announced that a pair of genetically edited infants named Lulu and Nana were born in China. Hundreds of scientists strongly condemned it and denied that they were related to the matter. The National Health Commission requested to conduct an investigation into the incident.