In Xi’an, a modern metropolis of 7 million and home to the massive installations of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang (the first Emperor of China), the weight of history often meets with the shallow vanities of today. Street Artist 0907 continues to examine the riddles of development and the implied values of a consumer culture here by looking at the banal lawn.
Consider the green grass lawn, that earthen symbol of suburban wealth and mastery of the elements as it is beamed across the decades and cultures. A lush and tightly trimmed lawn contains ironies of development and progress; defined geometries of fulsome mono-plantings, it status symbol measured by the centimeter or meter, sprayed with chemicals, cut and trimmed into patterns and reliefs. In cities on printed on fences it is also a visual metaphor to block the disruptive chaos of a lot that is under construction.
“With the acceleration of gentrification, people print out such a symbol of happy life on the construction fence,” says 0907, “which serves as a fig leaf of the on-going city construction – presented in a rather stark and crude manner.”
As is his style, in a subtle act of culture jamming, he here converts the lawn into a sport field –with a subtle addition of an athlete – hoping to further disturb the cognitive dissonance.
“The imagery of neatly mowed lawns is always a symbol for highly organized urban civilization,” he tells us.
“With my painting I present the picture of a goalkeeper in a soccer game on the imagery of the fake lawn, creating a dual visual misplacement. Thus a brand new absurd urban spectacle emerges. … the message that this image sends is more than firm: to catch the ball that the city kicks at us.”