VIDEO: Chinese Artist Cui Fei Traces Her Philosophical Sand-Paintings at MAD

Chinese artist Cui Fei
(Photo © Tom Chen)

Beauty often goes hand-in-hand with impermanence. New York-based Chinese artist Cui Fei takes this to an extreme with her current project for the Museum of Arts and Design’s exhibition “Swept Away: Dust, Ashes, and Dirt in Contemporary Art and Design.” For the show, which explores the artistic possibilities of the titular materials, Cui has created "Tracing the Origins VIII," a series of sand paintings using a technique familiar from Tibetan colored sand mandalas. The artist uses black sand to draw out a series of abstracted shapes that reference graceful calligraphy and the splintering, organic forms of tree branches in equal measure. Cui uses Chinese characters "as a way to explore the relationship between human beings and nature," she explains.

In this video, ARTINFO takes a look behind the scenes of the exhibition, following along as Cui installs her work on the museum floor and talking to the artist and MAD chief curator David McFadden about ephemerality, meaning, and language. Get a glimpse of this thoughtful work before it gets literally swept away.

"Swept Away" runs at New York's Museum of Art and Design through August 12, 2012