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Mann Island

One of China’s most prominent contemporary artists, Xu Zhen is exhibiting his own miniature version of Stonehenge, the UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of England’s most famous prehistoric monuments. Zhen’s piece, Optimizing, invites a Chinese martial artist to perform in the open space at Mann Island outside Open Eye Gallery.

This mysterious gigantic construction, believed to be 5000 years old, has been shrunk and turned into something fully functional, a field of the ‘Plum Blossom Poles,’ which is usually comprised of a group of posts, which are useful devices for traditional martial art training in China.

This is how West meets East and how the mystery can be explained, or complicated; this is how the monumental becomes the practical and how the actual physical training is turned into ritual.

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