Modern Chinese CraftsmanshipSeptember 11, 2017
To celebrate modern Chinese craftsmanship, stylish department store Lane Crawford is showcasing iconic made-in-China artisanal works in a series of fascinating workshops.
In the spotlight are X+Q’s playful figurines, exquisitely crafted by sculptor/artists Xiang Jing and Qu Guangci, and luxury lifestyle brand Shang Xia’s newly unveiled home decor ‘Twilight’ collection, employing the ancient craft of bamboo marquetry.
As part of the event, LUXE chats to the talent behind X+Q and Shang Xia about their creative journeys.
X+Q: Qu Guangci, Sculptor
What’s your first memory of art?
My interest in art began as a child. I also learned to paint rather early on, then I started to sculpt. The inspiration for my art was born of the classic western works.
How did X+C begin?
I exhibited at Hong Kong Arts Centre seven years ago. Ross Urwin, the Creative Director of Lane Crawford, saw my work there and believed it had great potential commercially. Our first X+Q collection, ‘Rainbow Angels’, debuted at Lane Crawford and was an immediate success.
Describe your aesthetic.
Humorous, nostalgic, ironic and at ease.
Why did you choose sculpture as your main artistic medium?
Sculpting is a traditional expression that takes a lot of time and effort to complete, which I find extremely rewarding. I studied sculpture at university and so, naturally, became a professional sculptor.
Where do you look for inspiration?
My inspiration comes from the environment I grew up in, as well as any hip, new things that are happening around me.
Do you think your work is received differently outside of China?
I find that Hong Kong and western countries appreciate my work a bit more. They’re more relaxed and humorous, and are interested in exploring Chinese art and culture. Although Xiang Jing’s work is very popular in China because of its feminine energy and blessings.
Shang Xia: Jiang Qiong Er, Artistic Director
How did you first become interested in design?
I am the third generation of a family of artists and architects, so I started painting with my father and brother at the age of three. Every summer, we would travel into the mountains to practice site sketching, or spend time in my father’s studio building models. Design has always been a way of life for me.
Describe your aesthetic.
Pure, light, simple, ethereal, functional, and even more charming as time goes by.
Tell us about bamboo marquetry, and what makes it so special.
At the height of the Qing Dynasty, bamboo marquetry was incorporated into the design of the imperial palace’s magnificent furniture. Two-hundred and forty years later, these pieces remain untouched by environmental damage and deterioration, which is an incredible testament to the quality of craftsmanship.
The development of the craft is reflected in Shang Xia’s ‘Twilight’ series, in which tiny strips of living bamboo fibres are woven piece by piece into a backboard to create an image. A mere 10cm2 segment of marquetry consists of over one thousand bamboo pieces, lying perfectly against one another. As with traditional window screens, marquetry creates an airy interplay of light and shade.
Where do you go for inspiration?
Inspiration comes from every corner: a piece of music, a craft, a texture, a book, a memory, a material, a beautiful encounter…
Do you think Shang Xia’s work is received differently outside of China?
Not really. Although Shang Xia is inspired by Chinese culture, tradition and contemporary design, we are international, and when you see something that touches your heart, there is no difference who you are.
Lane Crawford / IFC Mall / 8 Finance St / Central / +852 2118 2288 / 10am-9pm daily / + branches / lanecrawford.com.hk