Juju Wang, Once Upon a Time, 2022
Once Upon a Time
Acrylic, coloured film and wood
900 x 900 x 330 cm
Residing at the former location of the tianhou palace in Shanghai, this installation “once upon a time” acts as a modern representation of mazu herself. Born on a day where the sky magically turned colorful, mazu grew up helping others throughout her short life and continue to protect people during afterlife. The transition colours on the eight layers not only echos with the mysterious life story of mazu, but also, it faces directly towards the temple opera stage, where actors who wore colourful costumes and Chinese dramas used to be played in the old days. Each horizontal layer has exactly 108 (a propitious number in Buddism) vertical panels, the panels are engraved with content ranging from the skies above, landscapes below, the dragons and Phoenix, the story of mazu, and palace architecture details. The vertical panels are with different heights, randomly arranged to from two rings of circles, symbolising two giant columns, completing the site with a total of 108 columns. In addition, lights on the platform are in correspondence with the stars above. The soft transition colours from the installation are further “projected” onto the old temple itself, forming shapes of waving shadows of water, lighting up the architecture, the spirits and energies once within.