“CCTV Tower with Bountiful Harvest”
In their exhibition “The Beautiful Future” at Beijing Design Week a few weeks ago, westerners Nick Bonner (Koryo Tours) and Dominic Johnson-Hill (Plastered8) pulled something of a Komar and Melamid when they commissioned paintings of contemporary China from North Korean artists.
The remarkable canvases that resulted challenge one’s notions of irony or protest—they seem incredibly pointed but may have been meant sincerely. One suspects that the fantastic juxtapositions—Maoist uniforms and karaoke, or socialist flags and office cubicles—were at a bare minimum prompted as compelling subjects by Bonner and Johnson-Hill. It’s a little unclear.
Several of the paintings feature notable architectural gems of the recent past, including the Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium by Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei, the Beijing National Aquatics Center by PTW Architects, and the CCTV Headquarters by the Office for Metropolitan Architecture.
As a deadpan provocation, it’s pretty fabulous.
“Office Culture for Prosperity”
“Bird’s Nest, Home of the People”
“Water Cube for Clean Air and Healthy Life”
“KTV Gives Us a Voice”
“Disco Night to Enhance the Day”
“Glorious CCTV Tower”