Song ErRui, the daughter of Beijing-based artists Song Dong and Yin Xiuzhen, talks about her contribution to her parents’ exhibition The Way of Chopsticks at the Philadelphia Art Alliance, her life as a young artist, and artistic collaboration. We present this short interview as part of the Center’s sustained inquiry into co-authorship. The exhibition was funded by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.
About The Way of Chopsticks:
Inspired by the Philadelphia Art Alliance’s (PAA) history as a private residence, Song Dong and Yin Xiuzhen have collaborated with their 11-year-old daughter, Song ErRui, on an installation that has turned the historic Wetherill mansion into a three-story, multimedia exploration of modern family life in China. The exhibition traces the evolution of family dynamics from the 1960s and ’70s China of the artists’ youth, when large families were the norm, to the increasingly globalized present day where only children, like their own daughter, are fast becoming the majority.
“Early in their lives, the artists grew up largely disconnected from the West. In the China of their childhood, families were large and individuality was suspect,” says PAA curator Sarah Archer. “Their daughter’s 21st-century Chinese girlhood is vastly different: Song ErRui is bilingual in English and Mandarin, an avid basketball fan, and, thanks to her parents’ occupation, a sophisticated world traveler. The Way of Chopsticks addresses this fascinating generational divide with aplomb, referencing objects we encounter on the smallest cultural scale—the household—to explore a story that is shaping their entire nation.”
—from the PAA website