Waste not: Song Dong

If you are a lover of stuff and find it difficult to throw things away, you might want to visit the Song Dong installation (which Amanda posted about back in Feb) at the Barbican. You will either run out screaming, vowing to clear out your clutter asap, or find beauty and purpose in the collections of ordinary objects.

Artist Song Dong is acclaimed for his conceptual and personal performances and installations and created Waste Not as a tribute to his mother,  Zhao Xiangyuan, who amassed the vast collection of 10,000 objects, over five decades. Being frugal was the only way for the family to survive Chairman Mao’s cultural revolution and Zhao kept everything, even old soap and empty toothpaste tubes for possible future use.

As a lover of “stuff” I found the carefully positioned groups of similar yet different objects, strangely lovely and a little bit disturbing.

My teens commented to each other ‘Just imagine how much crap we’ll have to get rid of when mum dies’. Oh dear, perhaps it’s time for a clear out!

Song Dong is at the Barbican Curve Gallery, until the 12th of June.


  • Lilac says:

    I am a de-clutterer (for better or worse), this brings me out in a rash!

  • Jude says:

    Lilac, me too, all that rubbish would annoy the pants off me.
    Jane, as a teen I hated all Mum’s stuff – the 70’s Danish furniture, the G-plan nest of coffee tables and the sunflower shag pile rug. Just wait til your teens our age and I bet they’ll love all your ‘crap’ then – yes, even the horse lamp!

  • Jane says:

    No GG I do that too, and Andrea I hope I NEVER have to see the “stuff” you are talking about!! Jx

  • Andrea says:

    As I said when Amanda posted this, I think there a few members of our family that could match (or even better) this display of ‘stuff’ !

  • I just love this. Not to live with, but making such fascinating order out of all that ‘stuff’. It’s like looking through peoples windows when you’re walking down the street. Oh! Is it only me that does that? GG

  • Andrea says:

    One of the pleasures of having a dog is having an excuse to walk the streets on an evening and (accidently) peer through people’s windows….. just saying!

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