Hi, you exhibit at Grafik i Väst now, tell us a little about your exhibition.
“Miniature Monuments” is an extension of my last series “Family Portraits”. In “Family Portraits”, I explore personal memories surrounding family members, using the garments worn by them and everyday objects used in the house. Many of the objects are covered with what we call “dust cover”, which is what women of the household often make out of fabric, in the exact shape of the object, to protect them from getting dirty. In “Miniature Monuments”, I start to look at the cities and places my family have lived, depicting grand, solid, durable monuments with small, soft, and fragile approach, making them into “objects” also.
What technique, material and tools do you use?
There are three collection of works in the show, which all relate to each other. They are my attempt in different experiments. The works on paper in the main exhibition space are intaglio etchings; In the back wall by the office, there’s a cotton hanging piece stamped with block prints, the replica of a building I pass everyday in my parents’ university. There are also bags I have printed with the same brick shape repeat pattern. These are the extension of “dust covers”, and practical pieces which could be used in daily life; Finally, on the pedestals in the exhibition room, there are three sets of objects in boxes, made out of rice paper. They are pieces of the cities I have reduced to miniature size and could be carried around during my travels.
What did you think of during the work process, and what does the process look like?
I was in a Lacquer Residency in the mountains of Foochow, South China this summer. There I learned the techniques of making Bodiless Lacquerware, during which I will make a clay mold of the object, and wrap rice paper around the shape. When rice paper is dry, the clay mold could be removed, thus leaving the hollow paper shape. This is the origin of my paper maché objects.
What are your sources of inspiration?
Say something that was difficult or took a lot of time to do or solve.
For a long time, after I moved back to China from the United States, I was without a studio, and had to borrow other people’s printmaking studio from time to time, making prints are very sporadic. Also, with moving around and traveling a lot, I had to come up with creative ways to make works which are light and portable. It is in these moments I came up with the new stamping and paper maché techniques. In a way, it suited the topic I tried to address, which is the migration my family, like many families through the last century, had to go through, because of war, political change, and all the turbulent historical events. It is in this way, my destiny is tied up with my parents’ and grandparents’.