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Song Dong: Waste Not

Waste Not is an exhibit by Chinese artist Song Dong that displays over 10,000 domestic objects formerly owned by his late mother, who refused to throw anything away if she could possibly reuse it.

The careful categorisation, organisation and spatial arrangement of the objects hoarded by his mother turn these everyday items into an impressive archive that reflects the social and cultural issues alluded to here:

Waste Not is an exhibit by Chinese artist Song Dong that displays over 10,000 domestic objects formerly owned by his late mother, who refused to throw anything away if she could possibly reuse it. She had suffered poverty during China’s turmoils in the 1950s and 1960s and had acquired a habit of thrift and re-use that led her to store domestic objects of all kinds in her tiny house in Beijing. After the death of her husband in 2002, her desire to hoard items became an obsession that began to affect her standard of living. Song and his sister managed to alleviate it by persuading her to let him use her possessions as an art installation, reflecting her life and the modern history of China as experienced by one family.

Read more on the wikipedia page about this artwork.