Sky Orchestra: Cyrus Tang
25 June 2021 - 1 August 2021
Artist(s): Cyrus Tang
Location: Main Gallery
Sky Orchestra is a project exploring Confucian values of filial piety through the lens of Chinese history and pop culture, and how it relates to the artist’s existence within a Western context. Through Sky Orchestra, Hong Kong-born artist Cyrus Tang, delves into the history and legacy of a poem by a well-known Chinese poet Su Shi of the Song Dynasty, written during the Moon Festival in 1076. Expressing feelings of loss and yearning, the words of the poem evoke the joys and sorrows of human existence from a Buddhist worldview.
Additionally, this project explores the power of music, which played a central role in court life of ancient China. Visitors to the courts of kings and lords could expect to be entertained by troops of dancers and accompanying musicians. Many poems were performed on ritual occasions, and music was believed to have great moral powers. Confucius distinguished between music that would bring people into harmony and music that would lead to wanton thoughts.
Sky Orchestra sees the artist revisiting childhood memories and Confucian thought through relearning to play Su Shi’s poem on the piano. The resultant exhibition is one of loss and renewal through the turbulent yet transformative act of burning.
Sky Orchestra is supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria.