Ni Hao (Hello) to Sanlun Yishu



We have wanted to say a few words about the progress on the Sanlun Yishu Grants to Artists, mobile, interactive installation in Beijing. You may remember them, we told you about them last year here.

Sanlun Yishu, the vehicle, is:

三san (three) 轮lun (wheel) 车che (vehicle) – a versatile, cheap and compact tricycle made from modified motorcycles or bicycles. Small yet mighty, the workhorse of Beijing moves everything from lumber to passengers. Often employed as a low-budget, local taxi.

Sanlun Yishu, the art gallery is:
三san (three) 轮lun (wheel) 艺术yishu (art) – a mobile gallery, a custom-made sanlun che housing an exhibition of print, drawing, sound, and video selected specifically for this context. The primary function is to facilitate personal interaction with art for an audience outside the scope of the traditional gallery.

The sanlunche is one of the most popular ways of getting around the city. Sanlun Yishu, retrofitted the standard sanlunche, and turned it into a mobile gallery. The gallery housed artworks from people around the globe working in various media and carried them into the stream of daily transportation.

Sanlun Yishu is an artist-run, collaborative project based in Beijing, China. For this project they assembled a collection of artwork from all over the world to be exhibited in and distributed by a mobile gallery, Sanlun Yishu, in various parts of Beijing.

The mission is to provide contemporary artists a venue outside the traditional gallery to exhibit their work while giving people who likely have little or no exposure to art with an unobtrusive, positive and interactive art experience.

In the artist’s report to the Black Rock Arts Foundation this was my favorite paragraph:

We have been very well received by our passengers: who doesn’t like a free ride? We often encounter shyness or reluctance to comment on the art from passengers who say, “I don’t understand art”, or “it’s really cool, but I wouldn’t know what to say about it”. Not everyone wants to take a print or DVD with them or leaves something in the drop box. In fact, many people never get in and take a ride, but peek and chat from a safe distance.

However, Sanlun Yishu is received by smiles and excited chatter everywhere it goes. One of the biggest thrills of the project has been the level of curiosity, willingness to ask questions and chat about the project.

Overall, the engagement with the project has surpassed our initial expectations. The most rewarding footage captured by our on-board cameras has been from the passenger compartment. It is always a treat to discover the faces when wading through the video files. This is especially true when viewing footage from days when we were not driving the vehicle – we get to meet our passengers and get a glimpse of their interaction with our project.


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