Harvard CAMLab

P E O N Y   P A V I L I O N

An Object Play


Venture into the Pavillion

Peony Pavillion Creative Concept

In the play “Peony Pavilion,” a tragicomic romance written by Tang Xianzu in 1598, a young girl falls asleep in a garden in the waning days of the Southern Song Dynasty. In her dream, she begins a passionate romance that, in waking life, becomes an obsession that ultimately consumes her. Dream and fact, the image and the real, become fatally entangled: she leaves her self-portrait in a garden, to be picked up, impossibly, by the lover she met in her dream.

Conjuring the imaginary world of The Peony Pavilion, this immersive exhibition, or “object play,” creates a sequence of spaces in which projected images, architectural components, and objects create a world that straddles reality and illusion. The exhibition is also a re- examination of the close relationship between Chinese theater and the vernacular architecture of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Covered with wood carvings of scenes from traditional dramas, Chinese vernacular houses become a medium that blurs the boundary between theater and life.

Drawing upon this historical interaction between architecture and theater, explore Peony Pavilion as WE welcome YOU into a deconstructed vernacular house in an imaginary dimension of Chinese architecture.

︎ ︎  @HarvardCAMLab