Sunday, July 1, 2007

China trip: Get it Louder 07 exhibition, GuangZhou, June 2007

On 17 Jun 07, William Hailiang Chen and I went to GuangZhou, China to execute a project called As Much As You Like (Click here to link to our official website) for Get it Louder 2007 exhibition. This is my first collaboration with Chen who was graduated from London AA school of architectural and currently working with Wilkinson Eyre architectural firm.

It was an intense six working days because we have to built the sculpture from scratch in China that requires estimated 10,000 pair of disposable chopsticks and immense amount of assemble work. We were negotiating a sponsor from London Metropolitan University for this project to promote the University unfortunately it did not work out. However, the university has kindly promoted As Much As you Like on their website instead.

As Much As You Like 韧用 developed from my work Assemblage of Used Disposable Chopsticks, 2000. For the Chinese title ‘韧用‘: the word ’’ has two meanings. Firstly, it’s pronunciation is the same as ‘‘ which has the meaning of no tie. Secondly,’ also means durable or long lasting. While in English, ‘As Much As You Like’ refers to eating, it makes a connection to the buffet style serves in some of the restaurants in the UK where diners pay a fixed price to “eat as much as you like”.

The initial proposal of this sculpture involves public participation in which, we would invite the public to withdraw the chopsticks from a pre-made lantern shape sculpture to use for their meals in the food court next to the exhibition space. The public will then make use of the used-chopsticks to form a pie shape furniture. Due to the time limit and financial difficulties, this process has to be abundant.

This experimental sculpture portrays the China today after the ‘reform’ and ‘open to the world’ under the late chairman Deng, his policies has brought China enter a new era that influence the world. It also combines both Chen and my interests, where we observe the relationship of the materials with us within a temporal consume environment or time frame, searching ways to make connection and expand the life span of the chopstick and its paper pocket accompanied.

Sincere thanks from me and Chen to everyone who helped to execute the project: friends, Get it Louder 2007 and the volunteers.

Checking the exhibition space with Chen (right)

Getting on with the work in a small room we hired from the GuangZhou Academy of Art

Table relates to dinning, we use it as a base for our sculpture

Cardboard is the packaging for the chopsticks, we use it as a base to insert the chopsticks

Holding tight

Some of the volunteers working on the sculpture at the exhibition space

Chen is briefing the volunteers

The volunteers stayed awake whole night to finish the piece, we were working under dimmed light and very hot and humid condition

Finding the right hanging angle

Getitlouder 07 opening ceremony, 23 June 07

Getitlouder 07 visited by thousand of visitors everyday

Closed up view of the two pieces sculpture

There are more images and texts archive on our designated site for this project, please visit:

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Welcome to the ground

Thank you for stopping over. The Ground We Share evolves from my research study where I make a comparative study between the concepts of the everyday in art practice and Zen.

My art practice may be seen as the result of my interest on the matters of the everyday and Eastern thoughts. Over the years, I have produced a body of cross-disciplinary work that explores the as-it-is-ness of things, and interconnectedness between objects and people. My own cultural background and life experience are often revisited, examined and evidenced in the work within this journey of exploration.

In Zen tradition, mindfulness to everyday trivial is important in their spiritual pratice, my research relates this notion of attentiveness from my work to this tradition. Historically, many important twentieth century artists and art groups who expanded Duchamp’s theory of the ready-made and the everyday were also influenced by Zen teaching from D.T. Suzuki and Shunryu Suzuki that can also be related to this research.

In contrast to the Western sociological perspective on the study of the everyday from important thinkers like Henri Lefebvre and Michel de Certeau; I look at it from a different perspective - through the prism of a contemporary artist that comes from an Eastern background.

This blog provides a space to share my activities and information arising from my work and research. You are welcome to be part of this interconnection by posting your valuable experience, thoughts and comments.