Past exhibition

Deng Guoyuan – The Butterflies conquer the Dinosaurs Garden

12.05.2019 – 06.06.2019

The Chinese artist Deng Guoyuan (born 1957 in Tianjin) has spent his entire life studying the garden. He interprets this in front of the treasure of thought and knowledge of the old Chinese tradition, in particular of Taoism, in which the garden is regarded as the “way”, “method” or even “principle” of knowledge. Thus the garden in ancient Chinese philosophy represents the highest reality and mystery, the primordial unity, the cosmic law and absolute.

For Deng Guoyuan, this meant a confrontation with nature in the mirror of the current present. In today’s globalized world, especially in the megacities, nature disappears and is dramatically harassed, poisoned and destroyed. At the beginning of his career, Deng Guoyuan focused on the reflection on the garden, as the man-made district in which everything is artificially created, but where the cosmic order and logic is modeled and thus recognizable again. In the last ten years, however, the artist has increasingly begun to create installations in which he points increasingly to the artificiality of the created. His latest work reveals the world as an artificial place where miraculous species, such as genetic engineering mutations, populate the world. A nature of the retort, in which the insects defeat the more complex genera.

For his current installations presented in the Ludwig Museum, Deng Guoyuan has collected more than four thousand small toy animals and figures and extensively re-composed them. The impression of the playful, the miraculous, and the ugly remains preserved, and the very small dimension of his creatures triggers the fascination of following each individual thought. In the overabundance, however, this quickly becomes impossible. In Deng’s imagination, these little mutants become independent and leave the narrow world of their mirror boxes. They fly away, get up and away, emancipate themselves. Seen from afar, his mirror works with the creatures and mutants darting around seem like his oil paintings, created many years ago, in which he created his own world of the natural and the garden in the abstract color scheme. They seem almost like the return to the picture – to the compositional par excellence.

At the end of the exhibition, Deng Guoyuan will specially donate his sculpture “Loreley” to the Ludwig Museum, which in turn refers to the tradition of Taihu stones, which traditionally find their place in the garden of scholars. Deng Guoyuan was most recently President of the Academy of Fine Arts in Tianjin, China’s third largest state art academy. He has exhibited internationally, ia. in the USA, Germany, Singapore, and at the World Forum Davos, in Tianjin, 2016.



The exhibition is accompanied by a comprehensive catalogue, which takes a multifaceted look at the exhibited works

Deng Guoyuan. Butterflies Conquer the Dinosaurs’ Garden



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