The China-born, Paris-based artist Huang Yong Ping will fill the Grand Palais next spring with a vast immersive installation for the seventh edition of Monumenta (Empires, 8 May-18 June 2016), the French equivalent of Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall commission.
The project organisers, the government cultural body Réunion des Musées Nationaux, say in a statement that the work will consist of “eight islands [or pods]. The shadows cast by the metal bars of the glass canopy of the Grand Palais will meld with the shadows cast by the structure." The ambitious piece reflects “the way the world is changing, the evolution of political and economic power bases, the rise of emerging territories and the decline of established empires”.
Huang, known for his striking animal sculptures, participated in the critically acclaimed Magiciens de la Terre exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Paris in 1989, and represented France at the 1999 Venice Biennale. A large-scale retrospective of the artist’s work, entitled House of Oracles, opened at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis in 2005.
Previous artists to have won the biennial commission include the Russian duo Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, who in 2014 created an imaginary town called The Strange City for the 13,500 sq.m nave. In 2011, Anish Kapoor created Leviathan, a gigantic installation made from 18 tons of PVC, which cost €3m to manufacture and was seen by 277,687 visitors during its six-week run. Daniel Buren, Richard Serra and Christian Boltanski have also taken on Monumenta, which is funded by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication.