busts

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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

 

 



Art

Busts of Unabashed Women by Gerard Mas Are Sculpted with a Contemporary and Cheeky Twist

March 18, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Lady of the chewing gum,” polychrome resin. All images © Gerard Mas, shared with permission

Despite their modest clothing and perfectly plaited hair, the women that artist Gerard Mas sculpts are spirited, brazen, and undeniably shameless. Whether blowing a wad of bubblegum, sporting visible tan lines, or unabashedly digging in their noses, the corset-clad figures are steeped in humor and wit and cast a contemporary light on the long-held conventions of the medium.

Mas began the ongoing series a few years ago as he ventured into figurative sculpture and struggled with portraying perfection and beauty. He shares:

This was an impossible job. There was always something that broke that beauty. And a sculpture attempting to speak of beauty with some disproportion or flagrant compositional flaw is pretentious if not ridiculous… I decided to anticipate that failure and deliberately introduce discordant elements that broke that pretended beauty by making our sense of good taste squeak. Let’s say it’s an ode to the impossibility of beauty.

Based near Barcelona, Mas originally trained as a restorer with a focus on reconstructing floral ornaments in architecture. “In my obsession with contemplating the art of other times, I also realized that our current cultural codes prevent us from contemplating the art of the past without reinventing its meaning. We are subjected to an avalanche of daily images that shapes the way we look,” he says. This experience continues to inform his practice that seamlessly melds traditional techniques—his use of standard materials like marble, alabaster, carved wood, gilding, and polychrome, for example—and contemporary subject matter.

If you’re in Madrid, you can see Mas’s sculptures at Estampa from April 8 to 11. Otherwise, peruse a larger collection of his figurative works on his site and Instagram. (via The Jealous Curator)

 

“Call center lady,” polychrome resin

“Lady of lloret,” polychrome resin

“Lady of the chewing gum”

“Lady of the necklace” (2018), polychrome resin

“Lady of the cactus” (2019), polychrome alabaster

“Lady of the collar”

“Picking nose lady”

“Lady sticking out tongue” (2007), polychrome alabaster