The Mu Xin Art Museum is dedicated to celebrating the life, legacy and artistic output of the artist, poet and writer Mu Xin (1927-2011). The Museum is the leading resource in the world for research into the impact and continued significance of Mu Xin’s art.
The new 6700-square-metre museum was designed by OLI Architecture PLLC of the United States and is located in the historic and scenic waterside town of Wuzhen, in northern Zhejiang Province. The design of the Mu Xin Art Museum is in line with the simplistic tastes of Mu Xin. The south-facing architectural structure takes on a modern look, spanning Yuanbao Lake in Wuzhen, with its own reflection in the water. Slender and delicate, it has become a must-see site in this scenic and tranquil corner of Xizha, Wuzhen. The museum houses eight galleries for permanent and special exhibitions, with state-of-the- art lighting and exhibition facilities.
The architect’s statement is as follows. Throughout his life, Mu Xin was a complex and inspiring figure. He was a celebrated painter of abstract landscapes, as well as a poet and writer. Our design for this museum is inspired by the complexity of the artist’s work, as well as his writing, which was shaped by his lifelong existence between cultures, both in his native and adoptive countries. Mu Xin was not only affected by personal and external turmoil during his formative years, but also by his detention during the Cultural Revolution in the early 1970s and his self-exile to the West. Influenced by these experiences and his classical education, Mu Xin created space not only in the evocative multilayered painting of his abstract landscapes, but also in his writing. Through this work, the artist demonstrates the unfettered expansion of the mind within real physical constraints. Mu Xin’s work is reflected in the design of the building, evident in the series of interconnected, floating rooms and the concrete exterior, which evokes gentle watercolour brushstrokes.
At the beginning of this project, we thought carefully about the location and siting of the museum, taking into account the historical preservation of Wuzhen, Mu Xin’s hometown, and the ancient Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, which over the years helped to nurture the splendid culture of the city. In Wuzhen, one experiences a dense landscape of centuries- old canals, streets, markets, courtyards, bridges and verandas. Taking a cue from the urban fabric of this 1000-year-old ancient waterside town, the museum itself is a landscape of intersecting experiences. A series of coloured, architectural concrete volumes, cast in-situ, with varying sectional relationships to the canal and “street,” frame these experiences as singular galleries and programmatic elements, inviting visitors to wander through the “landscape.”
With the ever-changing quality of the spaces created by the intersection of the volumes, “street” boundaries and the water’s edge, the visitor experiences an expansion of space not only in the physical realm, but also as a bridge into the complex world of Mu Xin.