MONUMENTA 2016: Huang Yong Ping’s EMPIRES At the Nave of the Grand Palais
Under the enormous glass and steel dome of the nave of the Grand Palais in Paris, the Franco-chinese conceptual artist Huang Yong Ping (born in 1954) has filled up the space with Empires, an installation for Monumenta 2016, the established artistic event that the French Ministry of Culture organises.
Monumenta takes place every two years in the French capital, where one international artist is asked to fill the stupendous space of the Grand Palais. It has become a very special event in the international contemporary art scene, which started in 2007, Monumenta 2016 being the seventh.
The nave, measuring all of 13.500 square metres, and reaching 35 metres high, is an impressive glass and steel structure constructed in 1900, in the November 2016 ‘Belle Époque’ style. This large area is astonishing with its size and grandeur.
Ping is famous for his large-scale work. The installation for Monumenta 2016 comprises three elements: containers, a hat, and a serpent. There are 305 shipping containers that confront the viewers as they enter the nave. They are distributed to form eight islands, as number eight in Chinese represents the universe, and create mountains and valleys, over which extends an enormous skeletal snake.
The many containers, with their different colours and slogans, present a colourful and imposing sight. They are contributed to the project by one of the biggest maritime companies in the world, the SMA CGM, owned by the Francolebanese businessman Jacques Saadeh. The eight industrial mountains symbolise
The Winding Snake