Wet Concrete! Two New Public Art Installations: Vancouver Biennale

Wednesday August 26th, 2009

Summer is raging full on toward September and Vancouver is in its glory.  Sunshine is leaping in sheets of silver across English Bay, the mountains are a haze on the north shore and the sky is suffused with light.  Trees are practically glowing green and everywhere you look tourists are snapping photos.

Two new sculpture installations have dropped into parks in Vancouver and both are by Chinese artists.


The photo above is taken in Cardero Park along Vancouver’s Coal Harbour waterfront.

Meeting_Install_04It’s a new sculpture by Wang Shugang called “The Meeting”.

The installation consists of 8 red figures squatting and facing one another in a circle.  The figures are crafted in some kind of fibreglass and each one is a subtle variation on the next.

The initial stage of the installation was completed yesterday and the concrete was still setting when I took these pictures.  You can see the yellow caution tape tied to the trees around the sculpture in many of the photos.

You can also see chunks of grass lying around the sculptures.  These circles of grass were removed so that the concrete bases could be set to hold the red figures for their stay in Vancouver.

While I was snapping my photos many tourists and locals stopped to take some shots.  I’m looking forward to getting some more great shots of The Meeting later this week after the yellow tape comes down and people start to interact with it.

Most people stayed on the boardwalk beyond the yellow tape, though one guy was urgent on by his girlfriend to get a few close-ups.

One lady, with a small but enthusiastic dog on a leash, openly hoped that the figures were ‘pee proof’


Speaking of ‘pee-proof’, a low-slung work by Chinese artist Liu Jianhua was installed on the lawns of Harbour Green just to the west of Vancouver’s new Convention Centre.


The work is called “The Pillows” and I think that it’s going to be one of the most popular and intriguing pieces in the Biennale.

As you can see the installation wasn’t finished when I dropped by to take some photos.  The workers were still digging holes and mixing concrete and lugging materials around in their wheel barrow.

When the installation is finished and the concrete has set, park-goers will have the opportunity to engage this installation of several white ceramic pillows seemingly placed at random.

They appear to float just above the grass and one wonders who has been using them to cradle their head during sleep.

Or are they cushions for sitting, for silent contemplation of the incoming float planes or maybe they’re perfect for hanging out while goofing with your friends.

It’s going to be very interesting to see how people interact with the Pillows.

More photos coming soon after the concrete dries.

– Meanwhile there’s more shots of these new installations below –






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