DOHA: Imagine a world where recycled materials become lasting and inspirational works of art, sporting culture in the form of art is displayed in the vicinity of the new venues and dismantled old stadiums retain their memories.
That is the world of renowned Chinese contemporary artist Xu Bing, who was in Qatar recently and saw countless opportunities on the construction sites across Qatar, including those of the proposed host venues for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™.
“My art works actually have a lot to do with debris and recycled materials. Most people neglect these things, however to use recycled materials from, for example, Al Rayyan Stadium to make new things is a very interesting concept,” he told www.sc.qa.
The artist stressed that “the recycled materials from Al Rayyan Stadium are not only materials; they are also the memories of Qatari culture and sports. With the use of those materials we can deliver a message with a very profound meaning which is so familiar to the Qatar community.” The SC has committed to a minimum 90% reduction in waste from Al Rayyan Stadium deconstruction reaching landfills.
Renowned for his work with recycled materials, Bing currently resides in Beijing, where he serves as the president of the Central Academy of Fine Arts and is well-known for his print-making skills and installation pieces, as well as his creative artistic use of language, words and text.
“I would like to do a piece which is inspired by football and reflects the Qatari and Islamic cultures,” he said during a visit to the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC).
During his stopover in Qatar, the artist learned about the SC’s plans for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™ and visited the Al Rayyan Stadium construction site and the place where all the materials from the old stadium are kept until they are reutilised. The SC is currently in discussions with Bing about how he can lend his expertise to the stadium art programmes.
Nasser Al Khater, SC Executive Director of Communications and Marketing, also met with the artist during his visit and said: “We are placing a key emphasis on the sustainability of all our projects. The use of recycled materials from our stadiums opens the door to many possibilities in art. We are exploring new ways to use recycled debris and ultimately express our passion for football and our vision hosting the world’s greatest football tournament.”
The Chinese artist, who also visited numerous museums and heritage sites across the country, added that he saw similarities between the Qatari and Chinese cultures: “The people of Qatar also have a very profound relationship with nature. Qatar is also a country with a lot of energy and I feel like it can absorb the essence of a lot of cultures, resulting in something world class as well as contemporary.”
Bing also had a chance to engage with students at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar (VCU-Q). “I really enjoy working with students, it helps me realise that every generation has their own qualities and this makes me understand the limits of my own,” he admitted.
Students of VCU in the United States had the privilege of working with Bing on one of his most popular works, Tobacco. The artist explained that what inspired him in this case was a visit to Durham, North Carolina: “The entire town smelled like cigarettes, plus they have a well-known clinic specialising in cancer.”
Students asked Bing for tips for aspiring young artists who lack resources, time and money. His response was clear: “Adapt your limitations into something only you have, which is unique only to you, and make full use of it”.
Bing also visited Al Riwaq Gallery at the Museum of Islamic Art and met with Jean Paul Engelen, Director of Public Art Programmes, to see the exhibition about the Brazil-Qatar year of culture ahead of the China-Qatar Year of Culture 2016.