Beijing-based artist Song Dong, considered one of the leading figures of conceptual art in China, often draws on the power of plenty. Waste Not, which was first exhibited in 2005 at Beijing Tokyo Art Projects, presented more than 10,000 items from his late mother’s home (including the tiny wooden frame of her house), offering an evocative look at hoarding.
For a 2010 project with a slightly lighter tone, Dong used hundreds of cookies, wafers and candy to create the series Eating the City, which offered edible replicas of Shanghai’s major landmarks.
A similar impulse drives his work Communal Courtyard, part of the artist’s Wisdom of the Poor series and currently on view at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto. The installation brings together 100 vintage Chinese wardrobe doors to create weaving, tunnel-like paths that recall communal living spaces in Beijing. This video by Karly McCloskey goes inside the structure, with Dong offering insight into the project—which is also a dialogue with other artists culled from the AGO’s permanent collection, such as Sol LeWitt and Andy Warhol.