A junkyard jaunt through an artist’s psychogeography – Robert Foyle Hunwick
UK artist Gareth Fuller calls his door-sized monochrome artwork, Beijing, unveiled at the Art Beijing fair, earlier this month, a “mind map.” Like his previous works, these psychic illustrations of physical spaces are drawn with whimsical detail, literary reference, and topographical disregard. Fuller’s version of the Forbidden City, for example, weaves in in a reference to China’s Belt and Road initiative and to its high-speed rail network.
Fuller’s reimagination of China’s capital speaks to its fraught history of hegemonic expansionism, cultural appropriation, ethnic strife and political correctness (at least no one calls it Peking any more), as well as good old-fashioned blood feuds, border tensions, and foreign and domestic plunder. A palimpsest of detail, Beijing reveals more with each viewing, from cultural allusions and jokes to an accident involving a seven-foot ditch, commemorated by an ankle with a question mark.