Art

Traditional Chinese Characters and Motifs Cover Ming Lu's Porcelain Busts and Ducks

June 18, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Dialogue, Reaching the Station We’ll Never Reach” (2019), blue and white porcelain, 26 x 18 x 18 centimeters. All images © Ming Lu, shared with permission

Artist Ming Lu melds multiple facets associated with Chinese culture in her delicate blue-and-white porcelain works. She utilizes traditional craft techniques to sculpt ubiquitous cultural symbols often found throughout the streets of Chinatown, encompassing both the Berlin-based artist’s broad cultural connections to her native country and more personal interactions.

In the three busts that comprise “Dialogue,” for example, Ming Lu transcribes conversations with her partner in calligraphic script. Titled “Reason,” “Trick,” and “Reaching a Station We’ll Never Reach,” the self-portraits embody a contemporary change in situation and perspective through a classic medium. Similarly, a trio of butchered ducks evokes the popular dish in form and are coated in a traditional floral motif, a cracked glaze, and characters depicting an old-fashioned spelling of “I love you.” Each of the birds strikes a balance between history and more contemporary culture, which Ming Lu describes:

It’s a funny experience when I first went to Chinatown and I saw these roast ducks hanging on the restaurant windows. We don’t do this in China, at least not in the cities I’ve been to. It’s a funny experience for me. And when you go to a museum, in the “China” (the country) section, you see many porcelains. It also represents China in a way as in history, especially in Ming and Qing dynasties, (porcelain) was one of the largest export commodities, so I put them together.

Ming Lu works across mediums, and you can see more of her sculptures, paintings, and embroideries on her site. Some of the pieces shown here on view through July 3 as part of her solo show Tigress, Tigress at BBA Gallery in Berlin and in a group exhibition running June 24 to 30 at Kühlhaus Berlin.

 

“Blues Is My Business” (2019), blue and white porcelain, 30 x 16 x 9 centimeters

Detail of “Dialogue, Reason” (2019), blue and white porcelain, 26 x 18 x 18 centimeters. Photo by Christian Schneider

“Dialogue, Reason” (2019), blue and white porcelain, 26 x 18 x 18 centimeters. Photo by Christian Schneider

“Blues Is My Business” (2019), blue and white porcelain, 30 x 16 x 9 centimeters

“Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” (2019), blue and white porcelain, 30 x 16 x 9 centimeters

“Wonderful World” (2019), ge porcelain, 30 x 16 x 9 centimeters

 

 



Animation

A Delightful Animation Chronicles a Peaceful Spring Hike through a Camera's Viewfinder

June 17, 2021

Grace Ebert

Viewfinder” is a charming animation about exploring the outdoors from the Seoul-based studio VCRWORKS. The second episode in the recently launched Rhythmens series, the peaceful short follows a central character on a hike in a springtime forest and frames their whimsically rendered finds through the lens of a camera. Watch the first episode, which goes on a similarly calming snowy adventure, on VCRWORKS’ Vimeo. (via The Morning News)

 

 

 

 



Design

An Undulating Roof Made of Cedar and Steel Flows Out from a Pool House in Ontario

June 17, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of Partisans

A steel slatted roof ripples across a property in southwestern Ontario, providing a meditative enclave under its gently sloping cover. Contrasting the stark black metal with softer strips of cedar, “Fold House” by Partisans features a two-story living quarter with a lengthy undulating structure that branches out from one side. It’s bisected by a staircase leading to an upper walkway and covers a luxe in-ground pool.

Partisans is an architecture studio based in Toronto that frequently works with organic shapes and textures, which you can see on its site and Instagram. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

 

 



Art

Herds of Life-Sized Elephants Roam Through London's Parks for a Global Conservation Project

June 17, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © CoExistence, shared with permission

Sixty migrating elephants pass between Piccadilly and Buckingham Palace in London’s Green Park in one of nine herds roaming throughout the city. The lumbering creatures are part of an ongoing collaboration between two nonprofits, CoExistence and Elephant Family, that explores how humans can better live alongside animals and the larger ecosystem through imaginative public art projects.

As its name suggests, CoExistence’s aim is to identify mutually beneficial modes of living considering that within the last century, the balance between world population and wilderness has shifted considerably: in 1937, 66 percent of global environments were intact with 2.3 billion people on Earth. Today, those numbers have undergone a dramatic change, with a world population of 7.8 billion and only 35 percent of wilderness remaining.

The organization’s most recent effort brings the gargantuan animals to urban spaces throughout London that are typically closed off to wildlife. The herds can be spotted in St. James’s Park, Berkeley Square, and even the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall’s homes at Highgrove. In addition to generating awareness of environmental crises, the installations raise funds to support grassroots organizations throughout India that promote Indigenous culture and establish technology and infrastructure that allows humans and animals to live symbiotically.

 

CoExistence plans to install approximately 500 animals around the world in the next few years, and with the help of The Real Elephant Collective, each nation will receive a herd designed specifically for the location. The collective partners with Indigenous communities from the Tamil Nadu jungle in southern India, who live alongside the real-life animals, to create the sculptural iterations that stand up to 15 feet tall and weigh nearly 800 pounds. Each creature is constructed from long strips of lantana camara, an invasive weed that spreads in dense thickets and disturbs the environment—the video below documents the process—and by removing the plant, the artists help to reinstate the natural ecosystem.

Thirty-seven endangered and extinct birds will join the herd in Green Park on July 6. Using steel, clay, and bronze, seven artists created the flock, which includes a three-meter-tall curlew by Simon Gudgeon that’s as large as some of the elephants. The avian additions are the product of a collaboration with WildEast, a group focused on restoring biodiversity in the U.K. and finding new methods of sustainable farming, and will be sold to raise money for conservation efforts.

To support CoExistence’s efforts, you can donate or commission one of the elephants, and there are smaller goods and prints available in its shop. Follow the herds’ movements on the nonprofit’s Instagram, and see more on Elephant Family’s account.

 

Elephant sculptures in Tamil Nadu

 

 



Design

Sleek Wooden Ribbons Spiral in an Infinitely Looping Installation in Hong Kong

June 16, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Time Loop” (2021), 9.2 x 3.6 meters. All images © Paul Cocksedge, shared with permission

A new installation by Paul Cocksedge (previously) creates an endless circuit of coiling wood in Hong Kong’s Yue Man Square. Made of sustainably sourced timber, “Time Loop” evokes the infinity symbol and represents the city’s history of continual growth and change. A poem written in two languages is engraved in the spiraling structure, which stretches more than nine meters across and three meters tall to allow passersby to stop and rest amidst the bustling environment. “When people sit on ‘Time Loop,’ they become part of the movement of the city, as well as its transformation,” Cocksedge says. “It reflects a place that’s endured for many years, but remains constantly moving and evolving. And that’s the symbolism of the form.”

“Time Loop” was a gift from the property development company Sino Group to Hong Kong, and you can explore more of Cocksedge’s architectural projects on his studio’s site. (via designboom)

 

 

 



Photography

A Magical Series Captures the Gnarled Branches of Socotra's Dragon Blood Trees

June 16, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Daniel Kordan, shared with permission

Russian photographer Daniel Kordan (previously) is adept at locating extraordinary environments around the world—he captured this dazzling series of Japan’s firefly mating season a few months ago—and his recent excursion to the Socotra archipelago is similarly enchanting. Situated between the Guardafui Channel and the Arabian Sea, the remote island is populated by dragon blood trees, an evergreen species with upturned branches that splay outward and produce a bristling canopy.

Kordan’s photographs, which are shot at dawn, golden hour, and under a star-illuminated sky, frame this unique growth pattern that leaves the trees’ gnarled wood underbelly exposed. Combined with the deep red sap that seeps from its trunk, this otherworldly feature ties the species to local lore. “According to legend, the first dragon blood tree was created from the blood of a dragon who was wounded in a battle with an elephant,” the photographer says.

Kordan details the techniques and equipment he used in Socotra in a post about his travels, which you can follow on Instagram. He also has dozens of photographs of the white-sand deserts and life on the Yemeni island available as prints in his shop.