“Following Song Dong’s father’s death in 2002, Zhao Xiangyuan sank into deep depression. Her desire to fill her life with things regardless of their possible use became more marked and more disturbing to witness. It was clear to Song Dong that his mother had a ‘need to fill the emptiness after my father’s death’. In an attempt to help his mother find new purpose in life and bring her out of the depths of her grief, Song Dong proposed that she work with him to make her possessions – in effect, the family home – a work of art.”
Despite a whole gallery full of gathered items, I guess she never filled that void that was left after her husband died. Song Dong’s exhibition in the Barbican’s Curve Gallery was as moving as it was overwhelming.