The Grand Canal – Collateral Event 55th Venice Biennale 2013

On 16/08/2013 by Site Default

As a transportation artery and communication bridge in ancient China, the Grand Canal has significantly contributed to the economic construction, social development and cultural prosperity along its banks. It took over 1000 years to build the Grand Canal, which extends 1783 Kilometers over several provinces and remains the oldest and longest artificial river in the world. Part of the canal was started in the Spring and Autumn Period of ancient China before the opening of the whole route in the Sui Dynasty; through the development in the Tang and Song Dynasty, the Grand Canal took its shape in Yuan Dynasty; refinement and improvement were also made during the Ming and Qing Dynasty. The Grand Canal, along with the Great Wall, is a magnificent construction created by Chinese people, the long established history, unparalleled length and complicated technique of which have been universally acknowledged. Over the 2000 years of its existence, each excavation and extension of the Grand Canal has not only effectively promoted the national unity, but also boosted the social and economic development in Northern China.
It’s our responsibility to protect, to develop and to inherit this invaluable legacy left by our ancestors. The application for World Heritage listing for the Chinese Grand Canal, has received wide public attention and participation since its launch; professionals and culture lovers of various occupations have contributed to the coordinated development of China’s economy, as well as to the protection of our cultural relics and heritage. Through hard work and dedication over the last few years, the preparation of the application has progressed from the initial “Rescuing Conservation”, to the “Dynamic Protection”. On the basis that the cultural relics along the Grand Canal should be well preserved, we have effectively done an enormous amount of work, including canal regulation, legal construction, relic restorations, cultural dissemination, mass education and environment improvement. For instance, recently tourists are able to experience the ancient towns with the appearance and airs of ancients, as well as the development and improvement of the lives along the Grand Canal, which is the result of the “Dynamic Protection”.

The application for World Heritage listing for the Chinese Grand Canal, has not only prompted us to better protect the invaluable legacy left by our ancestors, but also allowed us to learn from the world how to regulate, protect and improve the Grand Canal. Venice, the city on water, is a very good example for us. The Grand Canal in Venice was tightly tied with the destiny of the city in history, and provided impetus to the prosperity of the economy, culture and art in Italy. This beautiful canal has also attracted innumerous artists’visits, from which derived many masterpieces that made the canal even more energetic and renewable.
As part of the application, this exhibition aims to present the contemporary Chinese art works that are related to the Great Canal to people all over the world. These works concern not only the canal landscape but also its history, destiny and current circumstance, which demonstrate a more comprehensive outlook of the Grand Canal. This kind of canal related exhibitions will continue to be held around the world to provide people a channel to have more understanding of the Grand Canal in China, and to offer assistance in the final spurt of the application for world Heritage listing.


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