An installation of Cans by Lei Xue Photo Credit- http://www.galeriewinter.at/kuenstler/lei-xue/imago/
Lei Xue was born in Qingdao China and studied Oil painting in Shandong, China followed by studying free art at the Kunsthochschule in Germany. Xue has had several solo shows in Germany and been in the last two Art Basels. His work creates familiar and strange worlds for the viewer in order to depict the clash of old and new ways of in life. Xue opens a dialogue by combining old traditions and techniques into a contemporary form and format. Disposal of coke can compared to the tea ceremony. Motifs from the Ming Dynasty are hand painted on these porcelain coke cans. Xue finds a connection between the disposal of these cans from our contemporary world and the disposal of tea bowls after a traditional tea ceremony. His work suggests that old traditions shouldn’t be hidden or kept only for the past but incorporated and celebrated in everyday life.
When strolling through the ceramics section of a museum one can’t help but notice all the ceramic vessels that have been tediously restored. The idea of restoration implies that this piece had become flawed or broken through a series of events and is then restored as close as possible to its original state. The repairs are often laboriously disguised. Kintsugi is the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with lacquer dusted gold and is a technique that is used in China, Vietnam, and Korea. The art of Kintsugi has similarities to Wabi-Sabi philosophies because the cracks, breaks and repairs are illuminated as moments in life and embraced, not hidden. These repairs are seen as enhancements and make the piece even more desirable for service. The different types of joinery associated with Kintsugi include- Gold Dust and Resin (the piece is glued back together with resin coated in gold dust), Pure Method ( the piece is glued back together with resin coated in gold dust and missing parts are replaced with gold parts) and Gold Plus (the piece is glued back together with resin coated in gold dust and missing parts are replaced with parts from an entirely different ceramic object). At one point the Art of Kintsugi became so popular that important ceramic vessels were broken in order to be a part of the Kintsugi process.
Stoneware with celadon glaze and Japanese lacquer repairs Longquan, Zhejiang province, China Photo Courtesy: Linda Ganstrom Art History Lectures
This ceramic specimen was photographed in a stream, possibly where a fossil of this nature would be found in the future. On closer inspection the fossilized circuitry from a computer tower is revealed on top of the specimen, perhaps from water erosion.
Photographs of Ceramic Specimen #362015
Stoneware and Pillow, these are two words that I never imaged being used together when describing a utilitarian object. Even though it may sound uncomfortable to sleep on such a hard surface stoneware pillows were actually quite practical for the time. During the Sung Dynasty most Chinese stopped cutting their hair after their teens, which provided some padding on the stoneware pillows while sleeping. In addition to helping maintain hairdos, sleeping on a hard surface cut down on parasite infestations such as lice and distanced the sleeper from other bugs and vermin. The pillows were often decorated with motifs, if not three dimensional scenes that depicted the sleeper’s social life pursuits of the time.
Tz'u-chou Stoneware Pillow from the Sung dynasty (960-1279) Photo Courtesy: Linda Ganstrom Art History Lectures
Left to Right: Geological Wirlpool, 17.5x19x20 inches, Ceramic, Wood, Paper, India Ink, Stains, Reduction Fired, 3/3/15 Monolith-Past Present and Future, 40x18x21 inches, Ceramic with Cryolite Glaze, Reduction Fired, 3/3/15 Sedimentary Echo, 22.5x15x20 inches, Ceramic, Wood, Paper, India Ink, Stains, Reduction Fired, 3/3/15
This series of ceramic strata reference sedimentary rocks from the future. Like each rock in this series the surface details, such as those in Geological Whirlpool, reward viewers who allow themselves to be sucked in. Fossils from the Mississippian settle to the bottle of each form while mechanical gears or antique glass bottles float above in the next layer of sediment. The final stratum of each piece is encompassed by the remnants of computer mother boards and other electronic parts. There is a rhythm present that echoes horizontally outward towards the viewer. Almost as if these monoliths are lighthouses, enlightening the viewer on what has come and cautioning the viewer as to what may come. This series was technically challenging for a variety of reasons. Construction involved designing a visually pleasing exterior that also allowed for an arch reinforced interior. Transportation was a challenge because of the weight and scale of these pieces; more than one than one person was required for movement. The glazing and firing process required attentive research of glaze materials such as cryolite and perseverance through personalized Blauuw kiln firing programs.