Artistic director Tim Yip opens Mia exhibit ‘Eternal Offerings’

The acclaimed designer brings an immersive museum experience to Minneapolis.


Image by Joshua Badroos

A notable installment of the exhibit included a moving sky above an earthen altar, an ode to the Chinese rituals of communicating with heavenly beings.

by Joshua Badroos

Hong Kong art director and designer Tim Yip arrives in Minneapolis with his exhibition, “Eternal Offerings,” at the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia).

Yip brings an immersive experience centered on ancient Chinese bronze artifacts to Mia this spring. Opening on March 4, the exhibition comprises about 150 Chinese bronze objects from the Institute’s acclaimed collection.

Yip collaborated with Mia’s Chinese art curator, Liu Yang, to create an engaging admiration for ancient Chinese culture and tradition.

Yip is known for his attention to detail, whether that be in costume, film or multi-medium design. His work on the 2000 martial arts movie “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” won him an Academy Award for Best Production Design.

A true staple in his craft, the care that went into “Eternal Offerings” provided greater context to the exhibition’s mission.

When entering the exhibition, you are immediately stimulated by a change in lighting and audio. A stunning display of broken bronze dangles from the ceiling, with a bed of mirrors underneath it. In an attempt to set the mood for the rest of the exhibition, the opening piece detaches the viewer from the rest of the museum.

After going through a wall of split-up curtains, the viewer enters the world Yip created. The aromas, audio, dimness and ancient vessels all play a part in creating a visceral experience.

The exhibit is split into seven sections. Each installment focuses on a specific part of ancient Chinese culture in relation to the bronze artifacts. The first installment shows “An Animistic World,” highlighting the bronze sculptures of animals and mythical beasts.

The “Pillsbury” owl zun, one of Mia’s most known artifacts, is at the center of this section. The bronze sculpture, formally titled “Zun wine vessel in the shape of an owl,” hails from 13th-12th century B.C. China.

The temple portion of the exhibit centered on offerings from the living to their ancestors.

Museum-goers John and Sarah Sorkin felt the captivating nature of the exhibition.

“The energy of the artifacts in this setting is very enthralling. It makes you feel like you time traveled to ancient China,” John Sorkin said.

A testament to how the exhibit evoked emotion, viewers expressed a sense of peace and tranquility.

“It’s a very peaceful exhibit. It puts you at ease when you go from one installment to the other,” Sarah Sorkin said.

A notable installment included a moving sky above an earthen altar, an ode to the Chinese rituals of communicating with heavenly beings.

Mia member Jules Compton called the exhibition “one of the most stimulating” exhibitions she’s seen.

“I’ve been coming to the museum as a patron, supporter and admirer of art for years now. Tim Yip’s ‘Eternal Offerings’ was one of the most stimulating exhibits I’ve seen here,” Compton said.

“Eternal Offerings” is now available for viewing until May 21. General admission is $20.