With life in China is slowly easing back to normalcy, Wuhan’s latest retail hotspot—the second instalment of the city’s K11 Art Mall, might just be the answer to China’s recovering market and a growing demand for culture savvy retail experiences.
TEXT: CoBo Editorial
IMAGES: Courtesy of K11 Wuhan
K11 Art Mall I, the latest cultural-retail destination at the city centre of Wuhan, China, opened on 30 April 2021. Following the much anticipated opening of K11 Art Mall II at the end of last year, the new building will welcome a number of first-to-market stores, integrating commerce with sustainability, creativity and art. As with all the other K11 outlets, an immersive experience that connects the public and the commercial with art and culture is to be expected.
The expansive interior of K11 Art Mall I is modelled after an antique music box, beginning with the main entrance, which features striking key-and-gear-shaped designs clad in luxurious gold, a running motif that runs with the elevators towards the ceiling. Musical motifs are ubiquitous throughout the space, including a massive pipe organ that sits at the centre of the atrium with a height that reaches all the way to the top floor.
K11 Art Mall I also brings in an international line-up of contemporary artworks on display. Scandinavian duo Elmgreen & Dragset’s Van Gogh’s Ear sculpture, which was recently shown at K11 MUSEA, Hong Kong, and caused a social media uproar, will be making its Wuhan debut. The new retail destination will also be occupied by a selection of works from notable artists including Antony Gormley, Alicja Kwade, Zheng Da, and Frog King, among others.
Here are a few highlight artworks on display that we would love to see in person.
Alicja Kwade, Der dritte Tag ohne Gestern, 2015
Polish mixed-media artist Alicja Kwade is known for her large scale installations and sculptures that deal with the subjectivity of time and space. Her Der Tag ohne Gestern Series (I–III) continues her fascination with these notions with three large steel structures whose forms are inspired by pre-scientific attempts to illustrate the structures of the universe. An alarm clock is affixed at the far end of the gigantic steel funnel, which acoustically stretches its ticking seconds, the augmentation creates a distortion to our usual perception of the passing of time, and actively invites spectators to peer down the barrel of the sculpture.
Antony Gormley, PROJECT II, 2010
Turner Prize-winning British artist Antony Gormley is known for his provocative public artworks, installations and figurative sculptures that explore the relationship between the human body and the space they occupy. PROJECT II, taken from his 2009–2018 “Framer” series, and depicts a vertical body form built by stacks of 8mm steel frames. The architectural form is inspired by his “Blocker” series and constructed based on masses discovered within the total body volume which can be extended in three axes.
Zheng Da, Physiological Reaction II, 2018
An update from the 2016 version of the artwork, Physiological Reaction II by Chinese artist Zheng Da is a futuristic composition of customised electronic parts and a wind measurement system. Collecting real-time data from the natural flow of wind around, the installation epitomises the digital ubiquity of our time and highlights Zheng’s practice, who often works at the intersection of art and technology to raise questions about the relationship between our relationship with man-made machines.
Lin Xin, Windy Space No.2, 2016
Lin Xin, a practicing multimedia artist and an associate professor at the Hubei Institute of Fine Art. Her artworks, based on digital media, ranges from animations, light installations and oil paintings. Through the virtual world, she constructs alternative realities in the virtual realm. Her “Windy Space” series are digital animations that highlight the natural motion of wind. Depicting an almost static scene with little movement, the reality she constructs seemingly projects a peculiar dimension of time and space that distorts reality.