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MCM Scarf Project - Introducing Gao Yu

19-06-2014

As you know, here at MCM we love to support fashion & the arts and we have a long standing tradition of patronage. For this very special collection of scarves, we asked artists Gao Yu, Hang Chunhun, Huang Ying, Liu Kun and Xu Hualing to explore the origins of some traditional Chinese cultural heritages including Longquan celadon, Anhui Xuan paper, shadow play, woodblock printing and Nanjing brocade.


To create their scarves, the five artists visited the birthplaces of each artistic heritage and later mixed it with contemporary lifestyles and traditions. The result: five different interpretations of traditional folk culture with one thing in common - a youthful essence which amalgamates past with present. This is the spirit of MCM today, a synchrony between traditional and contemporary lifestyles.


You already met Liu Kun and Xu Hualing and so today, I would like to introduce you to Gao Yu who, inspired by celadons in Longquan, employs ancient aesthetics dating from the Song Dynasty. 



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Born into what he calls an "average" Sichuanese family, Gao Yu was fascinated by Chinese philosophy at an early age, reading Lao zi's books under covers at night because he wasn't sure if his mother would understand his premature interest. His philosophical tendencies were tempered with a healthy diet of Kung Fu novels, ancient Chinese classics filled with wartime drama, and comics-- plenty of comics. These childhood hobbies can perhaps elucidate Gao Yu's body of work: his literary themes were borrowed from the Chinese cannon, his comic - addiction influenced his style and the manner in which he connects his main character across canvases, lastly, certain ancient philosophies have influenced his easy - going manner and let - it - be approach to art.


And there is the panda, otherwise known as "GG." However, the birth of this feisty creature was not one inspired by love, instead by Gao Yu's intense feelings hatred for his sometimes bloody, other times, heroic national symbol. The "lovable," but lazy panda, in his opinion, is better suited to being a stuffed bear, not a symbol of national pride. The adventures of GG and his on again off again girlfriend can be followed across the panels of his very two- dimensional, purely colored works. In early 2002 he began with painting his ravenous version of the bamboo-chewing bear, and the character stuck with him, reincarnated in what seems to be a loosely autobiographical tale that, instead of appearing on the printed sheets of a comic, unfolds slowly over his canvases. Often the bear's dress embodies classical Chinese themes, or a painting's composition, or the use of a literary title.


Recent experiments with animation have seen this constant companion take the shape of the Monkey King in a legendary battle with a Superman-like figure, and a product design series "Panda Box" sees him reproduced across T-shirts, drinking glasses, sofa chairs and wallpaper, revealing Gao Yu's inherent attraction to pop culture and mass marketing. Today, Gao Yu's compositional themes, his repetition and the supposed "logo-ification" of his GG character have bounced him into renown and garnered its fair share of criticism. But he shrugs it all off easily; if you ask him how long he'll be working with his bear, he doesn't know, I guess that as long as a public is buying into the "myth of the panda" Gao Yu will have fodder for his next work.


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The skull images he uses embody the craftmens’ peak in producing the monochrome glaze porcelain during the Song Dynasty, over thousands of years ago. The porcelain is described as being “green as jade, clear as a mirror, thin as paper, with a sound like chimes”.



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Chinese ceramic ware shows a continuous development since the pre-dynastic periods, and is one of the most significant forms of Chinese art. China is richly endowed with the raw materials needed for making ceramics. The first types of ceramics were made during the Palaeolithic era. Chinese Ceramics range from construction materials such as bricks and tiles, to hand-built pottery vessels fired in bonfires or kilns, to the sophisticated Chinese porcelain wares made for the imperial court. Porcelain is so identified with China that it is still called "china" in everyday English usage.


Most later Chinese ceramics, even of the finest quality, were made on an industrial scale, thus few names of individual potters were recorded. Many of the most renowned workshops were owned by or reserved for the Emperor, and large quantities of ceramics were exported as diplomatic gifts or for trade from an early date.



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The city of Jingdezhen (also Jingde Zhen) has been a central place of production since the early Han Dynasty. In 1004 AD, Jingde established the city as the main production hub for Imperial porcelain. During the Song and Yuan dynasties, porcelain made in the city and other southern China kiln sites used crushed and refined pottery stones alone.


Traduction - Inspiration et histoire du carre cree par Gao Yu.


Love from Mademoiselle Robot



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Gao Yu , Scarf , MCM , Song , Dynasty
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