Chongqing IFS Jointly Presents a New Public Art Installation with Saudi-based Artist Rashed Al Shashai

Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 4:46 AM EDT

CHONGQING, China, Sept. 20, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Chongqing International Finance Square (Chongqing IFS), in collaboration with Saudi Arabian artist Rashed Al Shashai, proudly presents a new contemporary art installation The Gate to the East from September 15 for a six-month debut exhibition in China.

Chongqing IFS has been striving to promote international art, fashion and lifestyle. Over the past five years since its opening, with its diversified offerings, international fashion brands as well as exciting activities to choose from, Chongqing IFS has become a high-end shopping destination in the city and even in China.

For this long-awaited collaboration, Chongqing IFS introduces Rashed's iconic piece, A Concise Passage, which is reworked into a brand-new production. Born in 1977, Rashed is a world-renowned artist, art educator, and Madina Arts Center's intendant. By engaging his practices with concepts related to ordinary daily life and the details of their daily practices, he questions the philosophy behind human existence and the dynamics of society using everyday objects as indicative of contemporary culture and globalization as well as its impact on local contexts.

A Concise Passage, once exhibited in Desert X AlUla in Saudi Arabia, has been dubbed one of the top 10 most imaginative public artworks in 2020. Its new version, The Gate to the East, multi-media large-scale installation that symbolize the cultural impact. From Saudi Arabia to China, this journeys out of the deserts of West Asia into the hinterland of China and converges with the mountainous terrain of Chongqing, giving rise to yet another stunning spectacle at the city's commercial center.

The art installation The Gate to the East, Chongqing China
The art installation The Gate to the East, Chongqing China(PRNewswire)

The Gate to the East, 10 meters high and 16 meters wide, is a multi-leveled pyramid mainly made of environment-friendly bamboo. Its ascension, mirroring the undulating mountains in Chongqing, brings out the vibrancy of the city. Pyramids, a wonder of the world's civilization, symbolize humanity's wisdom, while bamboo is the trademark in Chongqing that was once part of the ancient Ba and Shu kingdoms. By artistically revitalizing ancient cultural heritage at Chongqing's landmark in a modern way, The Gate to the East bridges civilization and commercialization and captures Chongqing's inclusiveness to the world's diversified arts and cultures.

Emulating the eight-dimensional mountain city that is Chongqing, the installation brings to life the natural scenery and local culture of Chongqing through an interactive sensory presentation of levels, colors and lights. Light plays a significant role in AlShashai's practices because he believes it to be one of the most powerful mediums for mediating between the past and the present. The artist's interpretation of the mountainous terrain of Chongqing, with its numerous, varied levels, as well as the traditional lanterns used in its culture during celebrations with all the meanings they carry, including those of vitality and good fortune, gave rise to the pyramid's dual meaning.

In ancient times, Chongqing was embraced by rivers on three sides and mountains on the other. Such geographical features have served as Chongqing's walls and laid the groundwork for its seventeen gates. The Gate to the East, now embodying the 18th gate to the city, in addition to the pyramidal shape that is recognized as a historical symbol throughout the world, the work is inspired by the details of patterns used by the Chinese civilization and the stairs of the mountain city. This sparks contemplation on Chongqing's past and present, and ignites enthusiasm to explore a path towards sustainable development for the future.

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