An ongoing exhibition explores the art world of the past three decades through physically creating the concept of domestic space.
How should the old saying, "Inside a book is a house of gold", said to have been coined by Song Dynasty (960-1279) emperor Zhao Heng, be interpreted? The Inside a Book a House of Gold: Artists' Editions For Parkett exhibition proposes the answer - that it's the perennial and diverse reflection of the art world. The first exhibition of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) in 2012 takes its title from Zhao Heng's quote because the center believes the emperor's words can illustrate the art world's evolution over the past 30 years, organizers say.
The show, which runs until April 8, displays 212 works by 192 artists from around the world to provide a collective portrait of the development and changes in art since 1984.
It features works by such global giants as Andy Warhol and John Baldessari, and Chinese artists, including Yang Fudong and Paul Chan.
UCCA's entire exhibition space has been rendered as a massive house to convey the concept of domestic space. It features a playroom, a studio, a wardrobe and a central garden that blossoms with bright yellow flower-shaped balloon works by American graphic designer Jeff Koons.
Works are of virtually every genre and are color-coded according to the rooms they're in. So, green is featured in the garden space, while pink dominates the playroom.
The exhibition is commissioned by the Swiss art journal Parkett and is part of its cooperation project series, in which visitors can read about artists in the exhibition's studio and reading room.
"We want audiences to feel the works by a special logic design," UCCA director and exhibition curator Phil Tinari says.
Works found in the playroom, for instance, are cute and resemble toys.
"The works displayed in the exhibition are small-scale and affordable, which didn't take too much space and made the audiences feel intimate," Tinari says.
Tinari says UCCA chose to cooperate with Parkett to enable viewers the experience of a walk-in encyclopedia of art from the past three decades.
"China has become a leading art market in the world," he says.
"In 2011, we had 500,000 visitors come to UCCA, which proved Chinese audiences' desire for art. Parkett is like a small museum and a large library of contemporary art, which goes perfectly with the title, Inside A Book A House of Gold."
Many attended the show's opening and appeared interested.
Parkett's chief editor Bice Curiger says: "You can see how art has changed with the development of technology and the evolution of artists' minds. From the traditional painting on the paper to the multimedia installations, the way of approaching art has been greatly changed."
Curiger calls 41-year-old Chinese artist Yang Fudong's black-and-white photograph Ms Huang at M Restaurant, Last Night Series, published in Parkett in 2006, "cool and exciting".
She was impressed by Yang's abilities to capture subjects' moods and use perspective to convey the rapidity of the country's transition.
Curiger calls Hong Kong artist Paul Chan's silkscreen book cover The Libertine Reader "a homage to the power of knowledge contained within a book".
Parkett's publisher and co-founder Dieter von Graffenried says he was fascinated by traditional paintings when he explored China's art world in 1976.
"Back then, I also felt that Chinese artists were trying to break through and eager to create a new world," he says.
Curiger says international knowledge about Chinese artists is limited.
"When we see the works from Chinese artists, we feel like we're entering a new world," she says.
"Everything about art is so different from their perspective, and we want to explore more. We try to be objective when we choose works for the magazine, but we also need passion. The works by Chinese artists make us feel connected and alert," she continues.
"We want to see how much art is taking part in people's lives in Chinese society."