Monday, June 09, 2008
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!