Pitchfork   The Dissolve   Festivals: Chicago | Paris
Photo by: Yao Lu | Viewing the City's Places of Interest in Springtime

The unwanted presence of garbage is a universal concern. That presence can mean anything from empty candy wrappers and packs of cigarettes tossed on the sidewalk, to massive landfill mountains made of trash. Artists Carly Fischer and Yau Lu have approached the concept of an unending stream of rubbish in two very different ways.

Fischer explores the idea in a way that might seem counterintuitive to most works about garbage: she actually recreates common litter like beer cans, old TVs, and neglected construction materials using only bright papers. She pays special attention to leave the original logos intact, almost as a way of addressing her sculptures. The work is also shown in charged postures: either in sealed glass cases, or scattered on the floors of galleries.

An early series by photographer Yao Lu recreated historical images from the Song dynasty by altering photos of trash. The new context managed to connect the landfill scenes with the industrialization of his home country of China, and his new work continues in a similar political direction. Not unlike Fischer's hyperrealistic sculptures, Lu's landscapes are not what they first appear. He swaps idyllic mist for inevitable smog, and the mountains that were often the subject of early Chinese art, with the massive piles of garbage he's used to seeing in landfills.