Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Artificial Rock #10

Zhan Wang (Chinese, born 1962)
Stainless steel
H. 29 1/2 in. (75 cm); W. 17 11/16 in. (45 cm); D. 7 1/2 in. (19 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Friends of Asian Art Gifts, 2006
Accession Number:
Rights and Reproduction:
© Zhan Wang
Not on view
The strangely eroded rocks long revered by Chinese scholars were typically formed through geologic processes. Connoisseurs appreciated these natural sculptures for many of the same reasons they admired calligraphy: the sense of dynamic form, energy, and the interplay of positive and negative space. Artisans also produced facsimiles of naturally occurring rocks in various materials, including jade, glass, and ceramic. Zhan extends this tradition into the present day by recreating a scholar’s rock in an industrial medium. He began by molding sheets of stainless steel around the surface of a traditional Chinese scholar’s rock, then removed these sheets, welded them together, and burnished the surface until the seams disappeared. The resulting work challenges us to redefine the parameters of tradition and to ask how tradition sustains itself by evolving in the contemporary world.
Signature: Zhan Wang, 2001, 8/8

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