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Monday, June 09, 2008

Walter McConnell


Walter McConnell, Itinerant Edens: Chinoiserie, moist clay, wood, plastic, polysterene, utility lamp, 2003/2007

Walter McConnell's misty Shangri-La of moist clay encased in plastic is one of my favorite pieces in MASS MoCA's Eastern Standard: Western Artists in China.

The statement -

"McConnell's moist clay sculpture reflects China's rich artistic history as well as a fantasy image of the East. Inspired in part by his tours of classic scholar's gardens, the work investigates the way images evolve as they are translated across cultures. This imaginary landscape is taken directly from an 18th-century wallpaper pattern book created by French painter and designer Jean Baptiste Pillement. The condensation produced from the 3,000 pounds of wet clay gives the work an apparitional quality, manifesting the veil through which visitors often view a foreign place. Reminiscent of a snow globe, the work takes on a kitsch quality, referencing - on a large scale - trinkets sold to tourists, and an image of China consumed by locals and foreigners alike"

MASS MoCA now allows photography, and has started a flickr pool and a youtube site. Here is the video of Walter McConnell constructing his piece; it's less than a minute and twenty seconds... worth it!

4 comments:

Carla said...

Wow, this really screws with my art pleasure center, in a way that 3-d stuff rarely does. I almost wouldn't want to see it in person, because what I'm imagining from this photo and materials list is so amazing. I wrote recently in a q & a about seeing things wrong/peripherally; how I don't want to take a better look, because the reality may not live up to the erroneous glimpse.

I've a feeling this sculpture in person is similar to what I'm imagining.

Moist clay sculpture - that's just so incredible and sensual and corporeal.

Michael said...

Wow. That sounds really cool. I imagine that it would be tantalizing... I'd want to touch the moist clay with my fingers.
I wonder if it mildews...
Astute write up of the show, BTW.
Hope you're well.

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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