Increasingly, “artists are finding their muse in the ecological mire. With photos, paintings, conceptual pieces and performances, they’re piercing through the din of data, seizing the attention and imagination of both the authorities and the public.”
Pollution and health have been on the Chinese mind as of late. From dead pigs in Shanghai to tips for avoiding bad air in Beijing, a clean environment can be difficult to find. Smog and water pollution have become a feature of China’s urban landscape, creating a hazard not just for Chinese citizens but people all over the world.
Traditional Chinese ink paintings are often known as shanshui, or mountain and water. Unfortunately, much of China’s water is no longer drinkable, and its mountains are difficult to find behind the smog. It’s a topic ripe for creative exploration.
Beijing artist Liang Kegang auctioned off a jar of fresh French air as a form of protest against Chinese air pollutionA Beijing artist has decided to auction off a jar of fresh air from a business trip to southern France, as a form of artistic protest against his smoggy city.
The rubber-sealed jar of Provence, mountain air went for 5,250 yuan (or $860), the Associated Press reports.
“Air should be the most valueless commodity, free to breathe for any vagrant or beggar,” Liang Kegang told the AP. “This is my way to question China’s foul air and express my dissatisfaction.”
Chinese scientists recently said the air pollution is so bad that it’s “somewhat similar to a nuclear winter.”
Artistic message aside, Liang’s air isn’t a bargain: Recycling tycoon Chen Guangbiang sells “Good Person”-branded fresh air in a can to Chinese consumers for $3 a pop.