Chinese artist DU Kun has long harbored a reverence for music and rockstars. A musician himself, the Beijing-based painter is awed by the creation of music, aspects of fame, and the intangible aura of being a revered rockstar, something he tries to capture is these temple-like portraits of famous Chinese recording artists titled “Revels of the Rock Gods”.
Each oil painting depicts the face of a musician as if it were a temple built in devotion to a god and borrows elements from Buddhist and Confucian architecture. Eyes are depicted as windows, tree branches or waterfalls as flowing hair, and the surface of skin as ornate wood facades gilded with gold.
Kun is currently exhibiting the “Revels of the Rock Gods” series as part of his first solo show in Japan at Mizuma Art Gallery in Tokyo through February 13, 2016. You can explore close-up details plus an archive of Kun’s work on his website. (via Hi-Fructose)
This towering ginkgo tree is located within the walls of the Gu Guanyin Buddhist Temple in the Zhongnan Mountains in China. Every autumn the green leaves on the 1,400-year-old tree turn bright yellow and fall into a golden heap on the temple grounds drawing tourists from the surrounding area. You can see more photos here and here. (via F*ck Yeah Chinese Garden)
With origins that date back as far as the Tang Dynasty (around the year ~700), the Chinese craft of Dongyang wood carving is regarded by many to be one of the most elegant forms of relief carving in the world. The craft is still practiced in a few workshops in the region of Dongyang, China, and most commonly appears as ornate decoration on ‘everyday’ objects such as cases, cabinets, stools, desks and tables.
Perhaps the most ambitious manifestation of Dongyang wood carving is seen on enormous mural-like panels intended to be hung as artwork as seen here. You can see a few more examples via Lustik, Orientally Yours, Michael Lai, and XDYMD.COM
Water Dripping – Splashing, 2014. Sundaram Tagore Gallery
Chinese artist Zheng Lu has long been fascinated by the properties of water, from its amorphous shape when flying through the air to the quality of light that glints across its surface. Lu also grew up in a literary family where the art of Chinese calligraphy played a meaningful role in his upbringing. In his large-scale stainless steel sculptures, the artist merges the two unrelated interests to create gravity-defying waves of calligraphy that twist and splash dramatically through the air.
To make each artwork Lu begins with with a plaster base to which he gradually adheres thousands of laser-cut Chinese characters. The final pieces can sit either freestanding on a pedestal or installed as numerous suspended parts that are linked in space to fill an entire gallery.
Shijingshang Park－Beijing, all images by Stefano Cerio
In Stefano Cerio's series “Chinese Fun,” he explores the facades of amusement without an audience’s reaction. The photographer enters areas built for fun and leisure in the off months or closing hours, exploring the absurdity that creeps into the architecture of entertainment when there is no one to enjoy it but a single camera.
Within the series the Italian photographer explores amusement parks, water landscapes, and sports grounds set in front of the background of gray skies and atop rain-soaked cement. The images were taken in the four cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Qingdao, and Hong Kong, and show a colorfully decorated food stand with an anthropomorphic hamburger, an overflowing basket of fruit the size of a car, and various rides that look like absurdist pieces of architecture when not in use.
Cerio’s photographic work has increasingly focused on the theme of representation, and he explains his work as “exploring the boundary line between vision, recounting the real and the spectator’s horizon of expectation, [and] the staging of a possible reality that might not be true but is at least plausible.” Through these examples he views places of leisure as “the other,” locations built for the suspension of day-to-day life.
Sky Ladder, realized at Huiyu Island Harbour, Quanzhou, Fujian, June 15, 2015 at 4:49 am, approximately 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Photos by Lin Yi & Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio.
In the early morning hours of June 15, a huge white balloon filled with 6,200 cubic meters of helium slowly ascended into the sky above Huiyu Island Harbour, Quanzhou, China. Attached to it was a 500-meter long ladder coated completely with quick burning fuses and gold fireworks that was then ignighted by artist Cai Guo-Qiang (previously) who has become known for his ambitious pyrotechnic artworks.
Titled Sky Ladder, the piece burned for approxmiately 2 minutes and 30 seconds above the harbor and was the fourth and final attempt to realize the performance. Guo-Qiang had earlier attempted Sky Ladder in Bath (1994), Shanghai (2001), and in Los Angeles (2012), to varying degrees of success, but never considered his vision complete until now. He first imagined a ladder of fire as a child and has pursued the idea for 21 years. He shares about this last successful iteration of the event:
Behind Sky Ladder lies a clear childhood dream of mine. Despite all life’s twists and turns, I have always been determined to realize it. My earlier proposals were either more abstract or ceremonial. Sky Ladder today is tender, and touches my heart deeply: it carries affection for my hometown, my relatives and my friends. In contrast to my other attempts, which set the ignition time at dusk, this time the ladder rose toward the morning sun, carrying hope. For me, this not only means a return but also the start of a new journey.
Unfortunately there’s no official video of the performance available yet, but a few shaky cell phone videos have emerged. You can see more images of the performance on the artist’s website. All photos by Lin Yi and Wen-You Cai courtesy Cai Studio. (via Booooooom)