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Rockbund Art Museum commission


Zheng Bo


ROCKBUND, Shanghai, China

Pleased to share Zheng Bo’s public program commissioned by Rockbund Art Museum, showing Hundred Grass Garden (2023), Hundred Flower Garden (2023) and Tree Totem (2023).

Hundred Grass Garden is realised in collaboration with Forest City Studio, plants, soil, sunlight, and more. About a hundred different kinds of plants local to East China live in movable hexagonal planters inspired by beehives. In contrast to common landscape plants, these ‘weeds’ are more vibrant, and friendlier to insects and birds. In an urban environment where plants are increasingly controlled, the artist reminds us to embrace ecological complexity.

The inspiration for Hundred Flower Garden can be traced back to ‘Huang Yuan’ founded by Huang Yueyuan in 1909. ‘Huang Yuan’ was the most important nursery in Shanghai in the first half of the 20th century. Its story reflects the ups and downs of individual destiny and collective history. In 1949, Huang Yueyuan and his son Huang Delin compiled forty years of gardening experience into The Book of Flowers. About a hundred plants from the book are grown here, to echo Rockbund’s historical architecture and to awaken the intertwined memories of botanical and social histories.

Tree Totem consists of LED drawings of twelve giant trees and growing vines. The artist outlines eleven trees that he has met (bottom upward: acacia, redwood, olive, araucaria, beech, cedar, eucalyptus, mulberry, pine, cebai, banyan) and one yet to encounter (baobab). These symbols of life interact with living vines, enriching conversations on the complex relations between culture and nature.

– Courtesy of Rockbund Art Museum.