As part of our ongoing partnership with Beautiful/Decay, today we bring you the installation work of artist Ni Haifeng. For the better part of the last decade, Ni has been working with concepts of manufacturing and production, illustrating, in the words of curator and scholar Pauline J. Yao, “the symbolic systems that govern the movement of certain goods across international borders.” This article was written by Danny Olda and originally published on September 3, 2013.
In his giant installation art/performance Para-Production (2008–12), artist Ni Haifeng reverses the common global process of production. A massive movement of commodities takes place each day often beginning in China, the country of Ni Haifeng’s birth. Many companies defer production of their goods to this country, goods that are often then exported for consumption in the Western world. In Para-Production, however, a large room is filled with loose garments and sewing machines. Gallery visitors are invited to work to sew these items together. In a way, the installation becomes a performance of labor―people who are often the consumers of Chinese-made products instead produce a product for a Chinese artist.