Sunday, December 11, 2016

Christina Shmigel's Dream of the Red Chamber at Ukrainian Museum, New York

Seven artists in CIM ("seven" in Ukranian) curated by artist Roman Hrab.
Exhibition Link. Press: Art Daily Link
Here, Christina Shmigel's Chinese construction tower hat, entitled, Shanghai Crowns: Great World Re-Constructed. Bamboo, Synamay fiber cloth, plastic string, paint and plastic pinwheels. In Shanghai many buildings are shaped like crowns.
Shmigel showing viewers her ongoing magnum opus,  The Foreigner's Cabinet of Chinese Curiosities, comprised of drawer-sized treasures in an antique apothecary cabinet for Traditional Chinese Medicine. Amazing to have this work shipped from Shanghai, where Shmigel has resided since 2004. She maintains a blog with the same name, which can be found on the sidebar of this blog.

Garden Borrowing the View From Afar, a Chinese landscape  demonstrating the principles of Chinese gardening (Wikipedia: According to the 1635 CE Chinese garden manual Yuanye (園冶), there are four categories of borrowed scenery, namely: yuanjie (遠借 "distant borrowing", e.g., mountains, lakes), linjie (隣借 "adjacent borrowing", neighboring buildings and features), yangjie (仰借 "upward borrowing", clouds, stars), and fujie (俯借 "downward borrowing", rocks, ponds);.
The View in Fragments, 2009-16, vitrines with cardboard, milk, paint etc. with titles such as, "Stripey Scaffold," and "Auspicious Phone Numbers." Some of these are part of the collection of Michelle Garnault's fabulous M Glam, on Shanghai's Bund, one of Shanghai's cultural hubs and a fabulous bar.
Chair Load (Shmigel seeks the humor and oddness in mundane circumstances; wonderful improvisations of how to transport any and all materials can be seen daily on Chinese streets. 

Nouveau Riche

Bottom view,What the Rain Writes in Chinese. 
Top View, What the Rain Writes in Chinese. Raincoats made from calligraphy practice cloth, against fabulous peacock fabric. Shmigel gifted me with some--watch out for it in my future paintings!
With a treasure from the drawers.

Drawer Contents... treasures and mysteries of daily life
Rat ink stick!
In China, cigarette brands are huge social signifers. Pandas, made in Shanghai since 1956, were smoked by Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. Listed on as1200 RMB / 173.71 USD per carton, a single pack can sell as much for 107.00 USD. 
The artist, a child of Ukrainian immigrants, she "engages in collecting and interpreting the elements of the locality's material culture that reveals its local character." The artist loves material; she holds a BFA in Painting from RISD, an MFA in Sculpture from Brooklyn College and a first MFA in Blacksmithing from Southerin Illinois University - Carbondale. Eleven years Associate Professor at Webster University in St. Louis, the artist relocated to Shanghai, where we first met in  in her studio as Artist in Residence at Duolun Museum near her then-house in a historic Chinese neighborhood in 2005.
This installation flooded with memories of Shanghai - a trip in itself, which requires viewers to actively participate and move within its various parts. It recreates the wonder Shmigel feels and shares of daily life in China. 
For anyone who loves China and Chinese culture, a sense of the absurd in cultural translation, interactive sculptural installations and beautiful treasures, Shmigel's Dream of the Red Chamber (named after the classic Chinese tale) is a must. For more on Shmigel see Raggedy Ann's Foot 2014 entryShmigel blog (also on RAF list) and her website, Artist Website.

1 comment:

Christina Shmigel said...

Wow, Elisabeth, thank you so much for the shout out: I love reading your take on it given that you recognize the goodies!