Guangzhou Art Museum
The Guangzhou Art Museum Is The Largest Art Museum In China With Investment Of More Than 1 Billion Yuan.
Random photo: Impressions of China
Situated at the foot of Baiyun Mountain and on the threshold of Luhu Lake, Guangzhou Art Museum started its construction in 1995 and was completed and opened to the public in September 2000. The Museum is the largest art Museum in China with investment of more than 1 billion yuan (US$ 120 million). Fronted by a grassy park and tree-covered trails, the Museum encompasses 18,000 square meters and has a floor space of nearly 40,000 square meters. The Museum complex stands like a spectacular sculpture at one of the city’s busy traffic intersections. A large rock mural makes up one facet of the museum, which is a reproduction of pre-historical marks and symbols discovered carved into coastal cliffs in southern China. The giant mural, painted on red sand rock, features primitive symbols that suggest words, images of birds and records of the activities of the ancient people. According to Mo Bozhi, chief designer of the Museum and one of China’s top architects, the Museum is more than just decoration. A bird totem featured in the mural is representative of one of the ancient cultural foundations in South China, where the local people, mainly fishermen, worshipped birds “as super fish-catchers.” The rock painting looks abstract and postmodern on the one hand, but still it is ultimately reflection of southern roots. It especially speaks for Guangzhou, the gateway to South China. Post modernism and Tradition have been blended coherently throughout the building. The Museum sits on a different triangular site that varies 34 meters from top to bottom. Mo exploited this terrain, giving his irregular rectangle complex a marvelous sense of presence and sculptural purpose. The museum’s dominant colour is white. Rouge and raw sand rocks used in the outer façade lend the building dignity and magnificence.
The maim halls are metaphorically relative to European buildings from the Medieval Ages. The main tower dominates the center and is accompanied by lower palaces on both sides. The outlook is rather westernized. But it is harmonious with the classical tone of the building as a whole, which is an understated combination of East and West, modernity and tradition. Unlike conventional museums that have a solid and symmetric structure, this one is dynamic and lively. It is a triumph of aesthetics over functionality. The classical design of wooden gates sculpted with elaborated patterns and barred with golden locks and chains, like those used in imperial courts in ancient China, gives the building a dignified air. Once inside, the modern ambience takes over.
The museum’s lobby itself is an illustration of modern minimalism: simple and spacious, with several columns and a winding staircase. The effect is one of balance between lightness and solidity. In the center of the lobby stands a single screen made to look an antique folding screen and covered with a collage of colours. The colouration and collage were borrowed from a common technique used in many abstract oil paintings in the West, while the form of the screen is traditional Chinese. On top of the lobby, through the semi-circle skylight, sunshine showers down an arch of light on the floor. The upstairs corridor is marked by a striking transparency that keeps the Museum refreshingly open and airy. The floor-to-ceiling glassy exterior walls give the illusion of expanded space and a connection with nature via gardens, ponds, plant materials, daylight and fresh air.