Exploring Ma Yansong’s ‘Landscapes in Motion’: MAD Architects’ Retrospective Exhibition in Shenzhen
The Shenzhen Museum of Contemporary Art and Urban Planning in China (MoCAUP) has recently opened an exhibition titled “Ma Yansong: Landscapes in Motion.” This retrospective showcases the work of MAD Architects, led by Ma Yansong, Dang Qun, and Yosuke Hayano, spanning nearly two decades and 52 projects. Running until December 17, the display is envisioned as a platform for imaginative exploration of future urban life.
The goal of the exhibition is to present MAD’s viewpoints on a range of topics pertaining to cities, communities, architecture, people, and nature. It also aims to increase public awareness of the need for community involvement in city planning and discourse by providing a forum for people to imagine their cities and lifestyles in the future.
Ma Yansong clarifies the theme of the exhibition in the “preface,” highlighting the ways in which cities and architecture represent life, emotions, atmosphere, and time. In fact, the architect believes in using architecture as a vehicle to investigate cultural life and delve into our inner selves while taking in the ever-changing cultural landscape of modern society.
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Architecture and cities are not abstract scientific technologies but real settings where life unfolds. They represent feelings, ambience, and time. They carry traits of living beings; thus, they are full of energy, flow, dynamism, and uncertainty. Architecture is alive, growing with the earth, endowed with life, rich in emotions, perceptive of time, and compassionate to everything. — Ma Yansong
© TAL+Baiyu© TAL+Baiyu
“Ma Yansong: Landscapes in Motion” is the largest display since MAD’s founding in 2004 and the MoCAUP’s first solo architectural exhibition since its debut in 2016. Four chapters make up the exhibition: “Dialogue,” “Progress,” “Feelings are Facts,” and “Rhapsody.” More than half of the exhibits—which include comprehensive designs, ideas, models, sketches, and archive materials—have never been seen by the public.
In “Dialogue,” more than 180 questions addressing subjects such as urban development, everyday living, the role of architects, and the future are asked of both present and past MAD architects. “Progress” showcases ongoing and finished MAD projects, showcasing the range of MAD’s methodologies. Introducing design and land art initiatives, “Feelings are Facts” highlights MAD’s creative approach beyond conventional architecture. Finally, “Rhapsody” intertwines initiatives such as Beijing 2050 and Hutong Bubble, demonstrating MAD’s reflection on urban realities.
MAD Architects recently revealed “The City of Time,” a performance space and a place that will hold a 300-hour artist residency created for the Aranya Theater Festival in China. Following the metaphor of avian migration, the Migratory Birds 300 is an artist residency program that brings together 300 creators from diverse fields and backgrounds. In September, the studio revealed the design of the Anji Culture and Art Center in the Zhejiang Province in southeast China. Finally, MAD Architects has unveiled a project for the renovation of a warehouse on the southside of the Shanghai Zhangjiang Cement Factory. Set to be transformed into a multifunctional public waterfront space for culture and creativity, the project activates the former industrial site.