Waste Not, Want Not
Back in 2009, there was an incredibly fascinating and rich exhibition held at the Museum of Modern Art called Waste Not. In his first solo museum show in the United States, Beijing artist Song Dong created an installation piece consisting of the entire contents of his mother's home. Every item, most being utilitarian household objects, becomes meaningful given the context of the Chinese concept of wu jin qi yong, which translates to waste not.
As stated in the accompanying artist book "Not long ago, because of the shortage of goods, the anxiety instigated by political instability, and the traditional virtue of frugality, people saved everything for future usage, including junk and rubbish. Bits of fabric left from making clothes or dust-covered bottles and jars, brick and timber from demolished houses or yellowed magazines and posters from a bygone era --- these objects were gathered piecemeal with insistence and determination. Day after day, year after year, they gradually formed a particular kind of family property, filling the limited space of a household and setting the physical surrounding for a family's day-to-day activities"
The exhibit is set up so you are able to walk through the contents of his mother's home and view close-up the objects that represent a life.