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Displacement: The Three Gorges Dam and Contemporary Chinese Art.
At the Smart Museum of Art. Through January 25, 2009.

China's Three Gorges Dam is a project fraught with superlatives. It is the largest hydroelectric facility ever built. It dams a three mile stretch of China's Yangze River as its reservoir. The rise in water level of more than 175 meters will cause the end of 19 cities, the submersion of over 1,200 sites of archaeological importance, and the relocation of over 3 million people. Given the scope and scale of the loss involved, the works in Displacement are unexpectedly quiet responses. Four contemporary Chinese artists, Chen Qiulin, Yun-Fei Ji, Liu Xiaodong, and Zhuang Hui, are featured in this modest exhibition of two large works and two multi-piece bodies of work. Of these, Chen Qiulin's video series is the most poignant, the images, particularly of laborers slowly and deliberately dismantling Qiulin's own to-be-drowned city, providing the most direct access to some of the controversial aspects of the project's resettlement and loss. At the Smart Museum through Jan. 25.

Image: Chen Qiulin, still from Color Lines, 2006

--Katherine R. Lieber

Katherine R. Lieber has edited ArtScope.net's Visual Arts reviews since 1998. Ms. Lieber is Editor and Associate Producer for ArtScope.net.

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