August 8, 2008, was a major day in world history. Coming at the end of a seven-year countdown, it marked the moment when Beijing revealed its ambitions and accomplishments to a watching world. Hours before the drums beat out the final ten seconds in the lead-up to the 8 p.m. opening of the Olympic Games, three men— one Chinese, one Japanese, one Korean, marched from a road just beside the airport expressway in Caochangdi, into a sprawling gallery space.
Song Dong first began working on his series of installations entitled “The Wisdom of the Poor” in 2005. One piece from this series, the large-scale installation Song Dong’s Parapavilion, is to be shown at the Venice Biennale this year. Apart from this upcoming show, none of the works from this series have previously been presented to the public, and, until recently, had been lying forgotten in Song’s Beijing studio in Changping.