Tufts Gallery Home

Wenda Gu / United Nations
September 8–January 8, 2006
Remis Sculpture Court


Wenda Gu fuses traditional Chinese ink painting, seals, and furniture with the materials and notions of a new millennium in his United Nations series of monuments, which he began in 1993 and has installed in fifteen countries. Gu’s two site-specific, 22-foot high sculptures at Tufts are totems made from the human hair of various races, formed into blocks and supporting the pseudo-calligraphic characters of an invented language. These nonsensical “un-words” (the oral expression of Mandarin Chinese words into English that are then transliterated back into Chinese) expose the misunderstanding that is rife in our attempts at translating languages and cultures. However, Gu’s use of biological material (human hair) from an assortment of genders and ethnicities reveals an optimism about the possibilities of globalization and genetic development. The blending of races and cultures creates a utopian scenario which transcends the present narrow-mindedness of society towards the “other.”

 
 

Un-word 3, 2000
From the United Nations series, 1993–present
28-panel installation collection of Larry Warsh, China Avant-Garde, Ltd., New York, NY
image courtesy of the artist