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Chinese homonym the starting point for art

Artist Liang Shaoji points out that in Chinese the words for poetry and for silk are homonyms (a group of words that share the same spelling and the same pronunciation but have different meanings), and this serendipity has led him up a mountain to nurture the creation of art work created by silkworms. Its a fascinating example of an artist orchestrating an artistic production, without having direct control on the result. Take a look at this article about his work. How much control does an artist have to have of his or her artwork in order to claim it as theirs? Laing’s art is on show as part of the Hayward Gallery’s exhibition The Art of Change, which is on into December. I’ve only just come across this exhibition and its too late in the day to organise a study visit to it, but if you get the chance to go, its relevant to all visual art disciplines and worth a visit.

Posted by author: Jane Parry
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4 thoughts on “Chinese homonym the starting point for art

  • You might find this interesting (and relevant): Rachel Marsden’s at the final stage of her PhD in which she’s ‘… critically examining the translation, through interpretation, of contemporary Chinese art in the West since 1980, specifically the notion of “transcultural” curators and curatorial practice.’ She’s spent the last year teaching in Shanghai, and doing some co-curating, so she knows what she’s talking about.

  • I am always slightly dubious about art made using live animals. I don’t suppose they suffer, but there is an arrogance in getting these creatures to ‘perform’ for your art. That said, I think it would be rather beautiful to see (and hear). This article brings to mind the saffron yellow ceremonial gown displayed at the V&A last year (maybe it is still there)which was woven from golden yellow silk spun by a species of spider. Of course, this was a completely different kind of creation, but equally awe inspiring.

    • So do you not wear anything made of silk? Silk’s made by killing the caterpillars – the silkworms – which have spun the cocoons of silk around themselves. I don’t see any difference between making silk yarn and fabric and making art from it.

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