‘Waste Not: For an everyday object to become a work of art, it is necessary for it to embody meaning, so even the most common things and image could be attributed with artistic value.’— Wu Hong
Since the late seventies, many Chinese artists have experimented with the use of various materials in their artistic work, demonstrating their belonging to a specific era and culture, transforming common objects from everyday life into installations and sculptures. These artists have used old humble everyday objects, obtaining sculptures, often autobiographical, belonging to a specific historical period.
In their practice they've used children’s toys and organic objects such as fruit and meat, they've reused railway sleepers to build conceptual temples, fireworks to convert them into paintings, or construction materials to make hypnotic videos, and they've revised the ancient theory of furniture-making to bring them back into the contemporary world, demonstrating their complexity, richness and consistency.
The need to explore the creative power of materials continues to exist strongly in the lives of artists like: Chen Zhen, Qiu Zhijie, Gu Dexin, Zhuang Hui, Sun Yuan & Peng Yu, Kan Xuan and Cai Guo-Qiang.