Ariel and I went to the 798 art district Saturday and managed to see a few nice things. Winter is good for gallery walking in Beijing, and it was nice to see small dedicated groups braving the cold.
Although I forgot the name of the space, I particularly liked these 盆景 （penjing, or bonsai in Japanese) with vices and wire mesh for trimming on display. Many of these welded metal pieces are based on the more simple bamboo and rope pieces used in Chinese bonsai farms to produce less expensive warm climate trees that can grow quickly. The work felt like it was about the imperfect finishes or leaving traces. It was a also comical, like they were receiving cosmetic surgery or little tree prisoners. Overall it was constricted and frightening and engaging. Some were dead or dying, which I'm not sure was 100% intentional. Showing living trees in a gallery space along with dead trees was surprisingly affecting.
If I find more info on this work, I'll post it.