Archive: China
The Obscenity, Profanity and Heartache in Neon

The Obscenity, Profanity and Heartache in Neon

Tracey Emin at Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, 2014

Tracey Emin at Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, 2014
Tracey EminTrust Yourself, Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, Miami, USA, 2014

Neon lights are commonly used to make attractive business signs and are mostly preferred for outdoor use especially at night. The colorful array of neon light options makes it a creative marketing tool since lights are used to illuminate an underlying text message or image. There is no limit to what medium an artist can use to express themselves and for Tracey Emin (b.1963), it has been over 26 years of using neon consistently as a creative medium. The process of creating an art piece for her often begins with coming up with a message, usually a thought or a feeling. This is then followed by bending light tubes to assume the curves and profile of what has been written. Many artists have used neon lights as a medium since the 1960s but while many preferred to use molded letters and neutral writing, Tracey Emin stands out because she has chosen to use her own handwriting. Art critics will admit that using one’s own handwriting is rather daring but also a way to stamp personality and individuality in all pieces created.

It is ironic how the artist uses simple every day phrases to provoke feelings and thoughts in the audience. By expressing her own emotions, thoughts, and aspirations, she connects to the soul of the observers. This is the role that art should play in people’s lives and finding the best medium to achieve it is the greatest hurdle for many. By incorporating poetry, mystery, color and light into an art piece, the artist immortalizes herself in the work she does.

Tracey Emin at Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, 2014
Tracey EminTrust Yourself, Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, Miami, USA, 2014

Tracey Emin at Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, 2014
Tracey EminTrust Yourself, Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, Miami, USA, 2014

Tracey Emin at Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, 2014
Tracey EminTrust Yourself, Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, Miami, USA, 2014

Tracey Emin at Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, 2014
Tracey EminTrust Yourself, Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, Miami, USA, 2014
Tracey Emin - Be Faithful to Your Dreams, 1998, blue neon on plexiglas, 40.5 x 223.5 x 7.5 cm
Tracey EminFaithful to Your Dreams, 1998, blue neon on plexiglas, 40.5 x 223.5 x 7.5 cm

Tracey Emin - For You, 2008, neon, 186 x 174 cmTracey EminFor You, 2008, neon, 186 x 174 cm

Tracey Emin - Her Soft Lips Touched Mine and Every Thing Became Hard, 2008, neon, 99.7 x 213.8 cm
Tracey EminHer Soft Lips Touched Mine and Every Thing Became Hard, 2008, neon, 99.7 x 213.8 cm

Tracey Emin - I Cried Because I Love You, 2015
Tracey EminI Cried Because I Love You, 2015

Tracey Emin - I Kiss You, 2004
Tracey EminI Kiss You, 2004

Tracey Emin - I Listen to The Ocean And All I Hear is You, 2011, Neon, 91 x 211 cm
Tracey EminI Listen to The Ocean And All I Hear is You, 2011, Neon, 91 x 211 cm

Tracey Emin - I Loved You More Than I Can Love, 2009, Neon, 76.2 × 191.7 cm
Tracey EminI Loved You More Than I Can Love, 2009, Neon, 76.2 × 191.7 cm

Tracey Emin - I promise to Love You, 2010, Neon, 145.8 x 143 cm
Tracey EminI promise to Love You, 2010, Neon, 145.8 x 143 cm

Tracey Emin - Is Legal Sex Anal?, 1998, pink neon, 34 x 148 cm
Tracey EminIs Legal Sex Anal?, 1998, pink neon, 34 x 148 cm

Tracey Emin - Meet me in Heaven I will wait For You, 2004, Blue neon, 32.5 x 164.1 cm
Tracey EminMeet me in Heaven I will wait For You, 2004, Blue neon, 32.5 x 164.1 cm

Tracey Emin - Meet Me In Heaven I Will Wait For You, 2016, 110 x 359 cm
Tracey EminMeet Me In Heaven I Will Wait For You, 2016, 110 x 359 cm

Tracey Emin - People Like You Need To Fuck People Like Me, 2007, Neon, 45 x 72.01 in
Tracey EminPeople Like You Need To Fuck People Like Me, 2007, Neon, 45 x 72.01 in

Tracey Emin - She Lay down Deep Beneath The Sea, 2012
Tracey EminShe Lay down Deep Beneath The Sea, 2012

Tracey Emin - The Kiss Was Beautiful, 2012, Neon 135 x 120 cm
Tracey EminThe Kiss Was Beautiful, 2012, Neon 135 x 120 cm

Tracey Emin - Trust Yourself, Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, Miami, USA
Tracey EminTrust Yourself, Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, Miami, USA, 2014

Tracey Emin - With You I Want To Live, 2008, neon, 76.2 x 99.1 x 5.7 cm
Tracey EminWith You I Want To Live, 2008, neon, 76.2 x 99.1 x 5.7 cm

Tracey Emin - You Loved Me Like A Distant Star, 2016
Tracey EminYou Loved Me Like A Distant Star, 2016

Tracey Emin - Your Lips Moved Across My Face, 2015
Tracey EminYour Lips Moved Across My Face, 2015

Tracey Emin - Your Name Try Cunt International, 2004
Tracey EminYour Name Try Cunt International, 2004

Tracey Emin - My Heart is With You Always, 2014, laser animation, The Peninsula, Hong Kong, China
Tracey EminMy Heart is With You Always, 2014, laser animation, The Peninsula, Hong Kong, China


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Prohibited photos from world’s most isolated country

Prohibited photos from world’s most isolated country

Michal Huniewicz - North Korea - Pyongyang
Michal HuniewiczOstensibly Ordinary: Pyongyang
Inhabitants of Pyongyang commuting.

A lot of attention was recently drawn to a series of photographs taken by London-based photographer Michal Huniewicz. These photographs are somewhat prohibited as they show the real side of North Korea. Tourists who want to visit North Korea are only allowed to do so through pre-arranged tours booked via travel agencies. When they arrive, there will be tour guides who will be with them at all times throughout their stay in the country. It is quite normal for tour guides to be assigned to tourists so as to ease their movements and make the tour a worthy experience but truthfully, the main job of tour guides in North Korea is to prevent tourists from interacting with locals, to prevent them from taking pictures and keep them away from areas where there is a high rate of poverty and unhappiness. Tourists are not allowed to take photos of soldiers and there are certain places where cameras are not allowed to be used.

These tour guides take tourists to areas where they have things under control and properly managed. Although on rare occasions, tourists can get to take more unbiased photos of North Korea and smuggle them out which is just what Michal Huniewicz did. His photos show citizens of North Korea living in abject poverty in a country that seems to be in a state of deadlock with no apparent signs of moving forward. According to the photographer there was hardly anyone seen smiling. They either looked gloomy or their body languages suggested that they were ready to obey the next order. Nobody showed much excitement at the sight of foreigners and it almost felt like they didn’t see them. In one of his photos, some of the citizens were seen sweeping pavements and public places under the supervision of soldiers. In others, waitresses were seen working in restaurants where propaganda images are shown on television throughout the day. As part of the search conducted on tourists, the controversial Hollywood film, the Interview was checked for on laptops as it is banned in the country. Huniewicz did manage to get the photos out through small memory cards, lying about his camera and keeping a straight face.

Huniewicz would be thrilled to go back to the country when the current regime collapses but he thinks it would be unwise to go anytime soon. This is probably due to an American tourist, Otto Warmbier who got sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment for stealing a poster from the same hotel Michal stayed. North Koreans have had their freedom of expression and will take away from them and through these photos, the world can have an idea of what is going on there.

Michal Huniewicz - North Korea - Pyongyang
Michal HuniewiczOstensibly Ordinary: Pyongyang
This was how most photos would be taken – through the minivan window. Pro tip: Take your polarising filter with you to minimise reflections. Pro tip from John Z Wetmore : It helps to wear a dark or black shirt, so the reflection is of black and doesn’t show up. (Thanks, John!)

Michal Huniewicz - North Korea - Pyongyang
Michal HuniewiczOstensibly Ordinary: Pyongyang
Before entering North Korea we were told by our Chinese guide (who did not enter North Korea with us) what would happen if you decided to ignore the limitations and take a stroll outside of the allowed area. Provided they don’t stop you immediately, you’d be arrested, threatened, and then forced to pay in order to be released (the person who actually did do it had to pay $10,000 USD). If you are American, all bets are off though.

Michal Huniewicz - North Korea - Pyongyang
Michal HuniewiczRoad to North Korea
North Koreans supposedly believe that the entire world is in awe of their achievements.

Michal Huniewicz - North Korea - Pyongyang
Michal HuniewiczOstensibly Ordinary: Pyongyang
Pyongyang Times is a weekly magazine that was launched in 1965, and is published in English and French. The front page is usually dedicated to the ruling Kim visiting various places and handing precious advice. The magazine claimed that “if the Olympic Games were to be held in South Korea, many sportsmen and tourists of the world would meet death, infected with AIDS”, as so many people had been deliberately infected by American soldiers.

Michal Huniewicz - North Korea - Pyongyang
Michal HuniewiczRoad to North Korea
Patiently waiting for the train to pass.

Michal Huniewicz - North Korea - Pyongyang
Michal HuniewiczOstensibly Ordinary: Pyongyang
I think they were really proud of this area, as they were taking us there constantly.

Michal Huniewicz - North Korea - Pyongyang
Michal HuniewiczRoad to North Korea
This is where you board your train to North Korea. It then slowly moves across the [new] bridge, into North Korea, where a major customs check occurs.

Michal Huniewicz - North Korea - Pyongyang
Michal HuniewiczOstensibly Ordinary: Pyongyang
What’s the last time you saw a kid in the West cleaning anything? Also, the statue on the left features a North Korean soldier stepping on an American flag.

Michal Huniewicz - North Korea - Pyongyang
Michal HuniewiczOstensibly Ordinary: Pyongyang
Workers carrying an object across the bridge.

Michal Huniewicz - North Korea - Pyongyang
Michal HuniewiczOstensibly Ordinary: Pyongyang
In North Korea, there are places you can visit and places you cannot visit, and the latter are far more numerous. Well, this is one of them. Usually, we were accompanied by our guides, one in the front, one in the back. But at one point they were both in the front, which allowed for a literally 15-second long detour into this ordinary shop for North Koreans. That gave me maybe 10 seconds to take this and the following picture, before being kicked out by the bad cop, and the atmosphere became rather unpleasant. I’m not sure if he saw me taking these pictures.

Michal Huniewicz - North Korea - Pyongyang
Michal HuniewiczRoad to North Korea
The difference between North Korea and China becomes even more apparent at night, when Dandong becomes a brilliant metropolis, while North Korea plunges into darkness. In the photo, the Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge, which connects Dandong with the city of Sinuiju, North Korea

Michal Huniewicz - North Korea - Pyongyang
Michal HuniewiczRoad to North Korea
Across the country.

Michal Huniewicz - North Korea - Pyongyang
Michal HuniewiczRoad to North Korea
This was one of the most strange moments – when we finally arrived in Pyongyang. Through the courtains of the compartment window, we looked at a surreal scene that appeared like something out of a theatre in its perfection and artifice. Elegant men, beautiful women, walking in a simulated hurry, travellers without a reason (ours was the only train that day), all to impress us and so that the station doesn’t look empty. We arrived in North Korea.

Michal Huniewicz - North Korea - Pyongyang
Michal HuniewiczOstensibly Ordinary: Pyongyang
I find socialist architecture brutal and oppressive.

Michal Huniewicz - North Korea - Pyongyang
Michal HuniewiczOstensibly Ordinary: Pyongyang
There was never much traffic in Pyongyang. How were we supposed to participate in a car accident? …

Michal Huniewicz - North Korea - Pyongyang
Michal HuniewiczOstensibly Ordinary: Pyongyang
You have to be fast. Soon we noticed that while Pyongyang is meant to be a utopian showcase for foreign visitors like ourselves, there are more glamorous bits, and there are less glamurous bits. What’s more, our mute driver was perfectly aware of this, so he would conveniently slow down whenever the surroundings were impressive, and speed up whenever they were less pleasant, to make them more difficult to photograph.
One of us said that taking photos in North Korea was therefore like Olympic archery.

Michal Huniewicz - North Korea - Pyongyang
Michal HuniewiczOstensibly Ordinary: Pyongyang
A honeycomb of flats reminded me of socialist architecture in Eastern Europe.

Michal Huniewicz - North Korea - Pyongyang
Michal HuniewiczOstensibly Ordinary: Pyongyang
The waitresses serving us often seemed a little terrified.
This was our first night in North Korea. We dined in the hotel’s basement, in a small room, debating whether it was bugged, and wondering whether we could trust one another (the whole group was 7 people).

Michal Huniewicz - North Korea - Pyongyang
Michal HuniewiczOstensibly Ordinary: Pyongyang
The rumour is, the fifth floor of the hotel is entire dedicated to the surveillance of the guests. Some people managed to visit it (the door is usually closed when you take the stairs), so it’s worth googling.

Michal Huniewicz - North Korea - Pyongyang
Michal HuniewiczOstensibly Ordinary: Pyongyang
They took us to this spot over and over again, maybe they were really proud of the mural.

Michal Huniewicz - North Korea - Pyongyang
Michal HuniewiczOstensibly Ordinary: Pyongyang
All the modest elegance and cleanness of Pyongyang… and now this!

Michal Huniewicz - North Korea - Pyongyang
Michal HuniewiczRoad to North Korea
There is some sparse, 50s-looking infrastructure on the North Korean side of the river.

Michal Huniewicz - North Korea - Pyongyang
Michal HuniewiczOstensibly Ordinary: Pyongyang
But then it doesn’t seem like they volounteer to keep the place clean.
Since South Korea is no longer providing fertiliser, North Koreans are charged with collecting their faeces in winter for spring planting. This is used to produce toibee, a fertiliser in which ash is mixed with human excrement. Factories and public enterprised have been ordered to produce two tons of toibee.

Michal Huniewicz - North Korea - Pyongyang
Michal HuniewiczOstensibly Ordinary: Pyongyang
Soldiers in Pyongyang.

Michal Huniewicz - North Korea - Pyongyang

Michal Huniewicz - North Korea - Pyongyang
Michal HuniewiczOstensibly Ordinary: Pyongyang
Social realism in sculpture.

Michal Huniewicz - North Korea - Pyongyang
Michal HuniewiczOstensibly Ordinary: Pyongyang
The place is called Mansu Hill Grand Monument, and you are informed that “visitors who take photos of the statues are required to frame both leaders in the entirety of their picture.”


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20 tons of incense ash to create 5m statue

20 tons of incense ash to create 5m statue

Zhang Huan - Sydney Buddha, 2015, aluminum, 5m height, Carriageworks, Sydney, Australia

Zhang Huan - Sydney Buddha, 2015, aluminum, 5m height, Carriageworks, Sydney, Australia 1
Zhang HuanSydney Buddha, left: Aluminium Buddha, 370x290x260cm, right: Ash Buddha, 350x480x290cm, Carriageworks, Sydney, Australia, 2015

Zhang Huan, born in 1965, started out his career as a painter and then moved to performance art and then resorted back to painting. He is also a sculptor and photographer, but his main focus is being a performance artist. Throughout his career, he has made extensive use of ash, and even built a few sculptures with it. Zhang says that he considers ash to be symbolic as it represents the hopes and the prayers of those who usually burn the incense. To him, the ash sculptures represent collective blessing, memory, and soul of the Chinese people. The ash is collected from various temples in Shanghai, a time-consuming process that involves many hands.

When making such sculptures, the ash is compacted into the mold for a number of days, and then the aluminum sculpture is removed and reassembled facing the ash sculpture. Eventually, the ash sculpture will start trampling down after sometime, while the aluminum sculpture remains intact.

In 2015, Zhang created the Sydney Buddha, one headless metal statue, and another one made from over 20 tons of incense ash, crumbling gradually. It was named Sydney Buddha for purposes of its presentation in Australia. Initially, it was known as Taiwan Buddha. The Sydney Buddha is a meditation on the briefness of life and the various cycles that facilitate the renewal and destruction of life. This piece is made using two parts: the main sculpture made of aluminum and the incense-ash casting as the interior. These pieces are placed facing each other, and as time elapses, one of them depreciates. The Berlin Buddha is another monumental ash sculpture of Buddha, made from 6 tons of ash from burned incense. This ash has been poured into an aluminum mold that stands at 4 meters tall.

Zhang believes that each ash Buddha represents the prayers, thoughts, and hopes of mankind, which eventually collapse. This is the cycle of life and the taking action when there should be no action taken, upsets nature, in a way.

Zhang Huan - Sydney Buddha, 2015, aluminum, 5m height, Carriageworks, Sydney, Australia
Zhang HuanSydney Buddha, Ash Buddha, 350x480x290cm, Carriageworks, Sydney, Australia, 2015

Zhang Huan - Sydney Buddha, 2015, aluminum, 5m height, Carriageworks, Sydney, Australia
Zhang HuanSydney Buddha, Aluminium Buddha, 370x290x260cm, Carriageworks, Sydney, Australia, 2015

Zhang Huan - Sydney Buddha, 2015, aluminum, 5m height, Carriageworks, Sydney, Australia
Zhang HuanSydney Buddha, left: Aluminium Buddha, 370x290x260cm, right: Ash Buddha, 350x480x290cm, Carriageworks, Sydney, Australia, 2015

Zhang Huan - Sydney Buddha, 2015, aluminum, 5m height, Carriageworks, Sydney, Australia 10
Zhang HuanSydney Buddha, Ash Buddha, 350x480x290cm, Carriageworks, Sydney, Australia, 2015

Zhang Huan - Sydney Buddha, 2015, aluminum, 5m height, Carriageworks, Sydney, Australia 10c
Zhang HuanSydney Buddha, Ash Buddha, 350x480x290cm, Carriageworks, Sydney, Australia, 2015

Zhang Huan - Sydney Buddha, 2015, aluminum, 5m height, Carriageworks, Sydney, Australia, Photo Michael Young
Zhang HuanSydney Buddha, Aluminium Buddha, 370x290x260cm, Carriageworks, Sydney, Australia, 2015

Zhang Huan - Sydney Buddha, 2015, aluminum, 5m height, Carriageworks, Sydney, Australia 7d
Zhang HuanSydney Buddha, Aluminium Buddha, 370x290x260cm, Carriageworks, Sydney, Australia, 2015

Zhang Huan - Sydney Buddha, 2015, aluminum, 5m height, Carriageworks, Sydney, Australia 7b
Zhang HuanSydney Buddha, Aluminium Buddha (detail), 370x290x260cm, Carriageworks, Sydney, Australia, 2015

Zhang Huan - Berlin Buddha - Art Stage Singapore, 2013
Zhang HuanBerlin Buddha, Art Stage Singapore, Singapore, 2013

Zhang Huan - Berlin Buddha - Museum of Old and New Art, 2014
Zhang HuanBerlin Buddha, Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, 2014

Zhang Huan - Berlin Buddha - Museum of Old and New Art, 2014 3
Zhang HuanBerlin Buddha, Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, 2014

Zhang Huan - Berlin Buddha - Museum of Old and New Art, 2014 2
Zhang HuanBerlin Buddha, Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, 2014

Zhang Huan - Berlin Buddha (Preparatory Drawing) 4, 2007, ink on paper, 82.5 x 102cm
Zhang HuanBerlin Buddha (Preparatory Drawing) 4, 2007, ink on paper, 82.5 x 102cm

Zhang Huan - Berlin Buddha (Preparatory Drawing) 5, 2007, ink on paper, 82.5 x 102cm
Zhang HuanBerlin Buddha (Preparatory Drawing) 5, 2007, ink on paper, 82.5 x 102cm

Zhang Huan - Berlin Buddha (Preparatory Drawing) 7, 2007, ink on paper, 82.5 x 102cm
Zhang HuanBerlin Buddha (Preparatory Drawing) 7, 2007, ink on paper, 82.5 x 102cm

Zhang Huan - Berlin Buddha (Preparatory Drawing) 9, 2007, ink on paper, 82.5 x 102cm
Zhang HuanBerlin Buddha (Preparatory Drawing) 9, 2007, ink on paper, 82.5 x 102cm

Zhang Huan - Berlin Buddha (Preparatory Drawing), 2007, ink on paper, 82.5 x 102cm
Zhang HuanBerlin Buddha (Preparatory Drawing), 2007, ink on paper, 82.5 x 102cm

Zhang Huan - Berlin Buddha (Preparatory Drawing), 2007, ink and soya sauce on paper, 82.5 x 102cm
Zhang HuanBerlin Buddha (Preparatory Drawing), 2007, ink and soya sauce on paper, 82.5 x 102cm


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This is how Hong Kong looked like 60 years ago

This is how Hong Kong looked like 60 years ago

Fan Ho - Hong Kong Venice, 1962

Fan Ho - Inferno, 1962
Fan Ho – Inferno, 1962

Photographer Fan Ho was born in Shanghai, China in 1931 and immigrated to Hong Kong in his teens where he then began to photograph the drama of city life, ranging from the teeming markets to desolate alleyways. A Hong Kong Memoir completes Ho’s trilogy that he began with Hong Kong Yesterday and The Living Theatre, in which he introduced viewers to Hong Kong during the 1950s and 1960s, using his exceptional eye for light, structure, and his patience, waiting for the right moment to take the photo.

His photobook, A Hong Kong Memoir, illuminates the differences in Hong Kong during different times, and highlights the differences in wellbeing when so many different people were immigrating to Hong Kong, many fleeing Shanghai due to the Nationalist-Communist Civil War, serving to create an assortment of cultural diversity and language barriers, and of course social inequality. The government provided those who were born in Hong Kong with housing and education, the incoming refugees were not provided with the same opportunities by any means. This discrepancy is highlighted in Ho’s photos, as you can see the distinct differences between precarity and affluence, while the use of light and dark emphasizes the dualistic nature of life in Hong Kong in the 1950s and 1960s.

The influential photographer Fan Ho shows the beauty of life while also showing disparity that accompanies social and economic inequality- using light and dark to contrast the images.

Fan Ho - A Day is Done, 1957
Fan HoA Day is Done, 1957

Fan Ho - World Upside Down, 1960
Fan HoWorld Upside Down, 1960

Fan Ho - Works, 1964
Fan HoWorks, 1964

Fan Ho - W, 1959
Fan HoW, 1959

Fan Ho - The Omen, 1964
Fan HoThe Omen, 1964

Fan Ho - The Lone Ranger, 1954
Fan HoThe Lone Ranger, 1954

Fan Ho - Sun Rays, 1959
Fan HoSun Rays, 1959

Fan Ho - Street Scene, 1956
Fan HoStreet Scene, 1956

Fan Ho - Steps
Fan HoSteps

Fan Ho - Private, 1960
Fan HoPrivate, 1960

Fan Ho - People Crossing, 1957
Fan HoPeople Crossing, 1957

Fan Ho - Pattern, 1956
Fan HoPattern, 1956

Fan Ho - On the Stage of Life, 1954
Fan HoOn the Stage of Life, 1954

Fan Ho - Obsession, 1964
Fan HoObsession, 1964

Fan Ho - Mother's Helper, 1967
Fan HoMother's Helper, 1967

Fan Ho - Man Carrying Box, 1954
Fan HoMan Carrying Box, 1954

Fan Ho - Lines & Forms, 1959
Fan HoLines & Forms, 1959

Fan Ho - Journey to Uncertainty, 1956
Fan HoJourney to Uncertainty, 1956

Fan Ho - In a Chinese Street, 1959
Fan HoIn a Chinese Street, 1959

Fan Ho - In a Buddhist Temple, 1961
Fan HoIn a Buddhist Temple, 1961

Fan Ho - Hong Kong Venice, 1962
Fan HoHong Kong Venice, 1962

Fan Ho - Her Study, 1963
Fan HoHer Study, 1963

Fan Ho - Flare, 1966
Fan HoFlare, 1966

Fan Ho - Danger, 1965
Fan HoDanger, 1965

Fan Ho - Daily Routine, 1961
Fan HoDaily Routine, 1961

Fan Ho - Coolies and Hawkers, 1958
Fan HoCoolies and Hawkers, 1958

Fan Ho - Construction, 1957
Fan HoConstruction, 1957

Fan Ho - Childhood, 1959
Fan HoChildhood, 1959

Fan Ho - Busy Harbor, 1964
Fan HoBusy Harbor, 1964

Fan Ho - Between Showers, 1962
Fan HoBetween Showers, 1962

Fan Ho - Ashore, 1963
Fan HoAshore, 1963

Fan Ho - As Evening Hurries By, 1955
Fan HoAs Evening Hurries By, 1955

Fan Ho - Arrow, 1958
Fan HoArrow, 1958

Fan Ho - Approaching Shadow, 1954
Fan HoApproaching Shadow, 1954

Fan Ho - A Day is Done, 1957
Fan HoA Day is Done, 1957


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Beautiful sculptures made entirely from soap

Beautiful sculptures made entirely from soap

Meekyoung Shin - Crouching Aphrodite, 2002
Meekyoung ShinCrouching Aphrodite, 2002

Meekyoung Shin, a South Korean sculptor, became popular for her Translation series, using soap as her medium of art. Trained in the tradition of European sculpture, her statuettes are made factoring in the Western and Eastern style of relief. Her works are usually made from palm oil, a vegetarian soap.

The free-standing ancient Greek sculptures of nude male youths made by Shin are perfect replicas of the originals. She actually preserved the missing limbs, crack and the other defects that were on the classical sculptures. Shin’s vases are also replica. The originals from China were created and sold in the European market between the 16th and 20th centuries. The vases feature dragons, warriors and other essential elements that depict the Chinese culture. When you look at them, you will notice the careful carving and also will be attracted by the scent of the soap, used to make the works.

While most people choose to go to the public toilets as a last resort, for Meekyoung Shin, this is the best place to place her art and latest pieces. Using the Toilet Project, she has been able to display some of her sculptures in public toilets. This is an art program that is aimed at having galleries display their art in toilets.

Meekyoung Shin has faced some challenges in the line of duty. For instance, the statue of Buddha that was in public toilets has been removed by the Korean Cultural Centre UK after a number of visitors complained. For most people, having a religion icon in the toilet does not seem right, and this has been a big hindrance to the growth of the Toilet Project. Shin’s work is a great wonder for most people who wash their hands using these soap statutes and illustrates the transition that happens in life.

Meekyoung Shin - Untitled (Red Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, 22x22x43cm and Untitled (Blue Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, 21x21x33cm
Meekyoung ShinUntitled (Red Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, 22x22x43cm, Untitled (Blue Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, 21x21x33cm

Meekyoung Shin - Translation, Vase Series, 2013, soap, pigment, varnish and wooden crate
Meekyoung ShinUntitled (Red Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, 22x22x43cm

Meekyoung Shin - Translation, Vase Series, 2009, soap, pigment, varnish and wooden crate
Meekyoung ShinUntitled (Blue Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, 21x21x33cm

Meekyoung Shin - Translation, Vase Series. Korean Cultural Centre, 2013-14, Photo- STF
Meekyoung ShinTranslation, Vase Series, Korean Cultural Centre, London, UK
Photo: STF

Meekyoung Shin - Translation, Vase Series, 2006-ongoing, Soap, pigment, varnish, mirrored stainless steel plates, wooden crates, Dimensions variable
Meekyoung ShinTranslation, Vase series, 2006-ongoing, Soap, pigment, varnish, mirrored stainless steel plates, wooden crates, Dimensions variable

Meekyoung Shin - Translation, Vase series, Soap, pigment, varnish, mirrored steel, fragrance, wooden crate, Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art
Meekyoung ShinTranslation, Vase series, Soap, pigment, varnish, mirrored steel, fragrance, wooden crate, Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea

Meekyoung Shin - Translated Vases series, 2009, Soap, fragrance, dimensions variable
Meekyoung ShinTranslation, Vase series, 2009, Soap, fragrance, dimensions variable

Meekyoung Shin - Translation, Vase Series, 2006-ongoing, Soap, pigment, varnish, mirrored stainless steel plates, wooden crates, Dimensions variable, Humboldt Lab Dahlem, Berlin, Germany, Foto Uwe Walter
Meekyoung ShinTranslation, Vase Series, 2006-ongoing, Soap, pigment, varnish, mirrored stainless steel plates, wooden crates, Dimensions variable, Humboldt Lab Dahlem, Berlin, Germany
Photo: Uwe Walter

Meekyoung Shin - Translation, Vase Series, 2006-ongoing, Soap, pigment, varnish, mirrored stainless steel plates, wooden crates, Dimensions variable, Humboldt Lab Dahlem, Berlin, Germany, Foto Uwe Walter
Meekyoung ShinTranslation, Vase Series, 2006-ongoing, Soap, pigment, varnish, mirrored stainless steel plates, wooden crates, Dimensions variable, Humboldt Lab Dahlem, Berlin, Germany
Photo: Uwe Walter

Meekyoung Shin - Installation View @Hakgojae Shanghai, 2015 3
Meekyoung Shin – Installation View, Hakgojae Gallery, Shanghai, China, 2015

Meekyoung Shin - Installation View @Hakgojae Shanghai, 2015
Meekyoung Shin – Installation View, Hakgojae Gallery, Shanghai, China, 2015

Meekyoung Shin - Installation View @Hakgojae Shanghai, 2015
Meekyoung Shin – Installation View, Hakgojae Gallery, Shanghai, China, 2015

Meekyoung Shin - Installation View @Hakgojae Shanghai, 2015 5
Meekyoung Shin – Installation View, Hakgojae Gallery, Shanghai, China, 2015

Meekyoung Shin - Installation View @Hakgojae Shanghai, 2015, Translation, Ghost Series(Red), 2007-ongoing, Soap, varnish, fragrance, Dimensions variable
Meekyoung ShinTranslation, Ghost Series(Red), Soap, varnish, fragrance, Dimensions variable, Installation View, Hakgojae Gallery, Shanghai, China, 2015

Meekyoung Shin - Toilet Project 2, 2014, Soap, fragrance, dimensions variable
Meekyoung ShinToilet Project, 2014, Soap, fragrance, dimensions variable

Meekyoung Shin - Toilet Project 1, 2014, Soap, fragrance, dimensions variable
Meekyoung ShinToilet Project, 2014, Soap, fragrance, dimensions variable

Meekyoung Shin - Weathering Project, 2013, Soap, fragrance, dimensions variable
Meekyoung ShinWeathering Project, 2013, Soap, fragrance, dimensions variable

Meekyoung Shin - Gilt Buddha, 2011, Soap, gold leaf, varnish, 90x28x28cm
Meekyoung ShinGilt Buddha, 2011, Soap, gold leaf, varnish, 90x28x28cm

Meekyoung Shin - Toilet project bust, 2013, Soap, fragrance, dimensions variable, photo jim varney
Meekyoung ShinToilet project bust, 2013, Soap, fragrance, dimensions variable
Photo: Jim Varney

Meekyoung Shin - Toilet project, 2013, Soap, fragrance, dimensions variable, photo jim varney
Meekyoung ShinToilet project, 2013, Soap, fragrance, dimensions variable
Photo: Jim Varney

Meekyoung Shin - Toilet Project, Taipei, Soap, fragrance, dimensions variable
Meekyoung ShinToilet project, 2013, Soap, fragrance, dimensions variable, Taipei, Taiwan

Meekyoung Shin - Toilet project, dimensions variable, Unfixed A Solo Exhibition, Korean Cultural Centre UK, London, UK, 2013
Meekyoung ShinToilet project, dimensions variable, Unfixed: A Solo Exhibition, Korean Cultural Centre UK, London, UK, 2013

Toilet Project, 2004-ongoing, Soap, fragrance, Dimensions variable
Meekyoung ShinToilet project, dimensions variable

Meekyoung Shin - Buddha, 2011
Meekyoung ShinBuddha, 2011

Meekyoung Shin - Pensive Maitreya Boddhisatva, dimensions variable, Unfixed- A Solo Exhibition, Korean Cultural Centre UK, London, UK, 2013
Meekyoung ShinPensive Maitreya Boddhisatva, dimensions variable, Unfixed: A Solo Exhibition, Korean Cultural Centre UK, London, UK, 2013

​Meekyoung Shin - Untitled (Black Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, 24x14x10cm
Meekyoung ShinUntitled (Black Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, 24x14x10cm

​Meekyoung Shin - Untitled (Black Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, 47x19x20cm
Meekyoung ShinUntitled (Black Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, 47x19x20cm

​Meekyoung Shin - Untitled (Black Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, 83x18x40cm
Meekyoung ShinUntitled (Black Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, 83x18x40cm

​Meekyoung Shin - Untitled (Black Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, dimensions variable
Meekyoung ShinUntitled (Black Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, dimensions variable

​Meekyoung Shin - Untitled (Black Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, dimensions variable
Meekyoung ShinUntitled (Black Series), 2013, Soap, varnish, pigments, dimensions variable

Meekyoung Shin - Ghost Series; Pink, Soap, varnish, pigment, 2012. 32 x 42 x 44 cm
Meekyoung Shin Ghost Series; Pink, 2012, Soap, varnish, pigment, 32x42x44cm


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Karl Lagerfeld is one of the few who saw this artwork live

Karl Lagerfeld is one of the few who saw this artwork live

Berndnaut Smilde - Nimbus Green Room, 2013

Berndnaut Smilde - ICONOCLOUDS, 2013, Commission for Harpers Bazaar, Karl Lagerfeld, photo Simon Procter
Berndnaut SmildeICONOCLOUDS, 2013, Commission for Harpers Bazaar, Karl Lagerfeld
Photo: Simon Procter

Dutch artist Berndnaut Smilde effortlessly creates fluffy, unusual, yet perfect clouds in different indoor locations. For several years, he has practised this and created a series named Nimbus.

Smilde makes his art possible with the use of smoke, air, light or water. Through the entire world, the presence of clouds often comes with different meanings which mostly fall within the range of misfortune, a heavy rainfall or simply a blemish on a perfectly clear and bright day. Smilde however, has chosen to disregard all these negative connotations and make them into a form of entertainment. Since 2010, he has perfected the art of changing the weather conditions of an indoor space and make clouds appear in the least expected spaces. It is a task that requires elaborate planning and preparation, and consists of taking control of the temperature and weather elements of the space he wants to create his work. The humidity of the space has to be controlled while constantly increasing the moisture content of the air in the space. The lighting is then adjusted to create a realistic and dramatic effect. With the right conditions, the fog machine releases a heavy and damp dense mist which looks just like a real life cloud in the sky.

Nimbus is a project that brings to the fore the idea of creating clouds in spaces that are not supposed to contain clouds so spectators can give such occurrence different meanings and often take places in spaces like elevators, balconies, corridors and staircases. His clouds can be quite threatening and ominous and still bring a strange serenity with them even though they are out of place. This conflicting notion is what makes Smilde’s work unique.

Not many people have seen Smilde’s work live as the clouds only lasts as much as ten seconds which is just about enough time to get photographed. The clouds do not exist for long and having them in photographs is the only way to prove that they ever existed and the fact that the images of the artwork brings reality and representation to fusion makes the work of art even more special.

Berndnaut Smilde - Waterschei, 2014
Berndnaut SmildeWaterschei, 2014

Berndnaut Smilde - Nimbus, 2014
Berndnaut SmildeNimbus, 2014

Berndnaut Smilde - Nimbus, 2010, Cloud in room, Digital C-type Print, 75x112 cm, Probe#6, Suze May Sho, Arnhem, Netherlands
Berndnaut SmildeNimbus, 2010, Cloud in room, Digital C-type Print, 75×112 cm, Probe#6, Suze May Sho, Arnhem, Netherlands

Berndnaut Smilde - Nimbus, 2013, Photo Michael Holly
Berndnaut SmildeNimbus, 2013
Photo: Michael Holly

Berndnaut Smilde - Nimbus Sankt Peter, 2014, Digital C-type Print, 75 x 109 : 125 x 181 cm, Sankt Peter Kunst-Station, Cologne, photo Cassander Eeftinck Schattenkerk
Berndnaut SmildeNimbus Sankt Peter, 2014, Digital C-type Print, 75 x 109 : 125 x 181 cm, Sankt Peter Kunst-Station, Cologne
Photo: Cassander Eeftinck Schattenkerk

Berndnaut Smilde - Nimbus Portland Place, 2014
Berndnaut SmildeNimbus Portland Place, 2014

Berndnaut Smilde - Nimbus NP3, 2012, digital C-type print on dibond
Berndnaut SmildeNimbus NP3, 2012, digital C-type print on dibond

Berndnaut Smilde - Nimbus Munnekeholm
Berndnaut SmildeNimbus Munnekeholm

Berndnaut Smilde - Nimbus LOT, 2013
Berndnaut SmildeNimbus LOT, 2013

Berndnaut Smilde - Nimbus II, 2012, Digital C-type Print, 75x112 cm, Hotel MariaKapel, Hoorn, photo Cassander Eeftinck Schattenkerk
Berndnaut SmildeNimbus II, 2012, Digital C-type Print, 75×112 cm, Hotel MariaKapel, Hoorn
Photo: Cassander Eeftinck Schattenkerk

Berndnaut Smilde - Nimbus Green Room, 2013
Berndnaut SmildeNimbus Green Room, 2013

Berndnaut Smilde - Nimbus Green Room, 2013, digital C-type print on dibond
Berndnaut SmildeNimbus Green Room, 2013

Berndnaut Smilde - Nimbus Dumont, 2014, Digital C-type Print, 75 x 110 : 125 x 184 cm, Minebuilding Waterschei, Genk, photo Cassander Eeftinck, Schattenkerk
Berndnaut SmildeNimbus Dumont, 2014, Digital C-type Print, 75 x 110 : 125 x 184 cm, Minebuilding Waterschei, Genk
Photo: Cassander Eeftinck, Schattenkerk

Berndnaut Smilde - Nimbus Duguan Himalayas Museum, 2015, Digital c-type print, framed, 150 x 220 cm, photo Nina Chen
Berndnaut SmildeNimbus Duguan Himalayas Museum, 2015, Digital c-type print, framed, 150 x 220 cm
Photo: Nina Chen

Berndnaut-Smilde-Nimbus-DAspremont-2012
Berndnaut SmildeNimbus Daspremont, 2012

Berndnaut Smilde - Nimbus Cukurcuma Hamam I, 2012, digital c-type print on dibond
Berndnaut SmildeNimbus Cukurcuma Hamam I, 2012

Berndnaut Smilde - Nimbus Cukurcuma Hamam II, 2012
Berndnaut SmildeNimbus Cukurcuma Hamam II, 2012

Berndnaut Smilde - Nimbus Bonnefanten, 2013, digital c-type print on aluminium
Berndnaut SmildeNimbus Bonnefanten, 2013

Berndnaut Smilde - Nimbus Atlas, 2015, LIAN Art Space, Shanghai 2
Berndnaut SmildeNimbus Atlas, 2015, LIAN Art Space, Shanghai, China

Berndnaut Smilde - Nimbus Atlas, 2015, LIAN Art Space, Shanghai 1
Berndnaut SmildeNimbus Atlas, 2015, LIAN Art Space, Shanghai, China


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Surreal photos of Asia’s longest river after 2 year „pilgrimage“

Surreal photos of Asia’s longest river after 2 year „pilgrimage“

Zhang Kechun - Buddha in Coal Yard, Ningxia Province, 2011
Zhang KechunBuddha in Coal Yard, Ningxia Province, 2011

The Yangtze River, Asia’s longest river, is the main subject of The Yellow River, a series of photographs by Zhang Kechun. The Yangtze is praised as the cradle of Chinese evolution owing to the central function it played in the civilization of ancient China. Paradoxically, the river is also referred to as China’s sorrow, based on the ferociousness of the river during flooding season.

For many years, the matriarch river of the Chinese nation has been cited in various writings of poets and artists, and it therefore comes as no surprise that Chengdu-based photographer Zhang Kechun took it upon himself to photograph the river. As a young boy, Zhang had read about the river, and he understood its significance as a pertinent symbol of the Chinese nation. On this, he says, “I wanted to photograph the river respectfully,” “It represents the root of the nation.

Having spent two years at the bank of the river, Zhang formed an affinity for it. Not only was he taking his time capturing its essence, but he also acted as a sort of tour guide to tourists that visited the region. The end result of his 2-year labor is an expansive portfolio that has the essence of a pilgrimage. He manages to expertly capture the silent moments of the Yellow River and the expansive gray skies that nearly envelop every corner of the landscape. The photographs emit a stillness that is almost wraithlike and transient. His pictures also include the people within the landscape as well as classical relics he found along his photography journey.

The photographs also expose the environmental destruction that has come with contemporary living. According to Zhang, the purpose of his artistic pilgrimage was not to reveal the ecological destruction of the Yellow River but he ran into so much pollution that to fail to capture it would have been negating the truth and the essence of the photographs. “I started off wanting to photograph my ideal of the river, but I kept running into pollution,” he said. “I realized that I couldn’t run away from it and that I didn’t need to run away from it ”, says Zhang.

Although the project has overcast and foreboding undertones, he hopes to spread a message of hope to his Chinese counterparts; that regardless of how much change the world undergoes, some things like nature and the Yellow River are bound to stand the test of time.

Zhang Kechun - Fake Hill in the Middle of the Lake, Shandong, 2011
Zhang KechunFake Hill in the Middle of the Lake, Shandong, 2011

Zhang Kechun - Workers Taking Midday Rest beside a Bridge, Gansu, 2010
Zhang KechunWorkers Taking Midday Rest beside a Bridge, Gansu, 2010

Zhang Kechun - Workers Building Bridge Piers for a High-Speed Railway, Shaanxi, 2011
Zhang KechunWorkers Building Bridge Piers for a High-Speed Railway, Shaanxi, 2011

View of the Yellow River from a window of construction site
Zhang KechunView of the Yellow River from a window of construction site

Zhang Kechun - The Yellow River 2
Zhang Kechun

Zhang Kechun - The Yellow River 1
Zhang KechunThe Yellow River

Zhang Kechun - Stone in the Middle of the River, 2013
Zhang KechunThe Yellow River

Zhang Kechun - People Fishing by the River, Shaanxi, 2012, Archival Pigment Print, 90.2x109.2 cm
Zhang KechunPeople Fishing by the River, Shaanxi, 2012, Archival Pigment Print, 90.2×109.2 cm

Zhang Kechun - People Drink Tea by the River, 2013
Zhang KechunPeople Drink Tea by the River, 2013

Zhang Kechun - People Doing Morning Excercise under a Dragon Lamp, Gansu, 2011 Archival Pigment Print, 90.2x109.2 cm
Zhang KechunPeople Doing Morning Excercise under a Dragon Lamp, Gansu, 2011 Archival Pigment Print, 90.2×109.2 cm

Zhang Kechun - People Crossing the Yellow River with a Photo of Mao Zedong, Henan, 2012
Zhang KechunPeople Crossing the Yellow River with a Photo of Mao Zedong, Henan, 2012

Zhang Kechun - Man Pumping Water in Wasteland, Ningxia Province, 2011
Zhang KechunMan Pumping Water in Wasteland, Ningxia Province, 2011

Zhang Kechun - Lake in the Desert, 2014
Zhang KechunLake in the Desert, 2014

Zhang Kechun - A man photographing by the river, Gansu province
Zhang KechunA man photographing by the river, Gansu province

Zhang Kechun - A Family Spending the Weekend Under the Bridge, Shandong, 2011
Zhang KechunFamily Spending the Weekend Under the Bridge, Shandong, 2011


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