ARTIST RESIDENCY CHINA — BEIJING, no. 6
All that is absent at Yuanmingyuan, the Old Summer Palace, is present a little further west at Yiheyuan, the New Summer Palace, in Haidian, Beijing. The inadequacy of photography to convey atmosphere and grandeur is demonstrated in nearly every picture of my visit. Photographic flattening and miniaturization obliterates dizzying heights and magisterial transformations of space. Each set of interior and outdoor rooms spills into the next with unbelievable charm and complexity. The enormous property had been the exclusive enclave of a tiny feudal elite class. Rebuilt by Empress Dowager Cixi after the catastrophe of 1860, it was opened to the public in 1924. Thousands of visitors trample the grounds daily, kept somewhat in check by ubiquitous railings, continuously posing for and taking millions of photographs and videos. The phrase “rolling in her grave” took ten minutes to explain to my patient guide.
a very large stone that caused so many problems it is called “unlucky”
calligraphy in the artist’s courtyard
an artist painting the marble boat
marble boat that does not float, for moon festival parties
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