Tomorrow - Monday, myself and McGovern co-director Helen Smith, are off to Sydney and Melbourne for a client workshop. While in Melbourne I fully intend going back to the Ian Potter Centre to have another look at the stunning new works from Ah Xian - who with others is a 2009 recipient of the Clemenger Awards. See here for more detail. I saw these concrete sculptures a couple of weeks ago. From memory, there are about thirty or more clustered in a group. Each one of the figures is unique - with the torso and head of each body imprinted with the foliage of different plant species. It is an intensely moving work. Would love to see it come to New Zealand.
The Potter Centre describes his work, thus:
"Throughout his practice, Ah Xian has pursued a deeply personal exploration of cultural and spiritual identity through sculptural portraiture and representation of the human form.source
Using classical artistic materials and techniques practiced in China for millennia, Ah Xian creates portraits in porcelain, jade, lacquerware, bronze and cloisonné, skilfully reapplying the expressive possibilities of each medium within a contemporary context.
For this installation, Ah Xian has made a dramatic shift in materials by using concrete to cast his busts. Rather than employing traditional decorative materials, he has taken the palette of the modern city, the core of our skyscrapers, buildings and footpaths, and imprinted each one with the delicate foliage of different plant species.
Concrete forest, 2009, is Ah Xian’s elegiac response to environmental degradation, the encroachment of urban development on the landscape and the inherent fragility of life..."
See also Rosemary Neill 's article/interview in the Australian, from earlier this year, here