Thursday 25th August 2016


It has been a while since I have seen a piece of art that has left me speach-less. When I walked into the Plastic Factory and saw this installation by Zhu Jinshi I was silenced. It is unbelievable. The piece is known as “Boat” and is made of Xuan paper (rice pape) which has so many rich connotations in Chinese culture and bamboo. It took 50 days to construct. The matter of material which Zhu Jinshi uses is of great importance, the work is made of traditional Chinese materials and the use of Xuan paper is of particular importance as it resonates tensile strength and is resistant to corrosion and mould. Aside from this paper is often burnt to honor the dead in China, as they pass from the living to the afterlife, something which somebody with a knowledge of Chinese culture would not fail to remember when looking at “Boat”.

There is not fixed place from where to view it – although standing in the centre of the piece has a weirdly calming effect. There is something very futuristic about the piece yet the use of material reminds us of Chinese history and culture. It seems clear to me when looking at “Boat” that Zhu Jinshi is concerned with the matter of time in a philosophical sense as well as cultural, there is something about this work that is able to tease us in our thoughts between east/west, future/history, traditional boats/space ships. For those of you in Shanghai make time! It is on at Pearl Lam Special Project Space at the Plastic factory, click here for more details.

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