Here is a contemporary sculpture by a modern Chinese artist. This is Pigeon’s House, by Cui Jie, a Shanghai-born artist who now lives in Beijing. The work is an ugly amalgam of dull architectural styles: Bauhaus, Russian Futurism (which spawned countless identical state-sponsored heaps), Retro-futurism, and “International.” It measures 4. 5 meters in height (15 feet) and is manufactured of metal. Despite the unwholesome mélange of second-tier architectural styles, there is an appealing dynamism to the sculpture: lively metal pigeons metamorphose out of the skyline and take to the sky.
The most common of styles give birth to the most common of birds, yet somehow there is a suggestion of freedom and dignity to just surviving and enduring in the great supercities which are increasingly the home for humankind. Like the 21st century art world, these cities may seem to be homogenous, tedious, and so competitive as to prevent any creativity whatsoever. Yet if one looks more closely one realizes that they are a living habitat…and even a sort of ecosystem…if only for prosaic animals and middling aspirations. The work’s setting–a verdant field in rural England–further emphasizes the nature of sprawling urban habitats.