Apr 10, 2012

Zhang Yimou portrait...made of bamboo sticks, pins and...socks?!

This project has been featured on Huffington Post and Wall Street Journal...super honoured and grateful! :)




When I first moved to Shanghai, I stumbled upon an old residential alleyway and saw bamboo sticks poking out of windows with laundry hanging onto them, waving in the air.



I thought that was an incredibly beautiful sight. And the amazing thing is seeing something so traditional in a modern, bustling city like Shanghai. That inspired me to do a project in the old residential area that I live at, and I wanted to use materials that local residents are familiar with, but arrange and install them in a different way.

I thought that Zhang Yimou's portrait would be perfect for this project. Zhang Yimou is a famous Chinese film director, who directed the movies Hero, House of Flying Daggers, Curse of the Golden Flower, and also was the art director for the Beijing Olympics. Many of his movies reflect the beauty of the Chinese culture, through the use of bamboos and traditional costumes.

The initial idea was to collect LOTS of shirts and hang them up with many bamboo poles but I found shirts really hard to manipulate - they're too big and I figured out that they project would blow my budget as well.  I ended up using the smallest piece of clothing item I could find - socks. I used 750 pairs of socks and found an interesting way to pin the socks together, creating a diamond-shaped piece of skin. It was interesting to see the different angles of shadows cast on it throughout the day.





Chinese film director Zhang Yimou.
Laundry hung out to dry on bamboo sticks.


I thought this was an amazing site - this is a little laneway near where I stay...it was a sunny day and residents hung lots of laundry out to dry...

Inspired by Zhang Yimou's work - he shows lots of bamboos in his movies, and I love the traditional Chinese costumes his characters wear as well...

One day while wandering around, I saw this and thought, "Why not use socks instead of shirts!?"

My awesome colleagues at HASSELL helped me pin all 750 pairs of socks together!

Pinning the socks onto a bamboo pole...

Installing the piece...underestimated how heavy this piece was!

Neighbours and friends came over to help


Dad's sketch helped me overcome my problem of the piece being horribly distorted!



SO relieved and happy that it held up and actually looked like his face! Worked so hard for this, for over 3 weeks :)


It turned out to be a community project - my neighbours came to help and it was VERY chaotic and noisy - everyone was telling me what to do and helping me move stuff around, which honestly was pretty annoying at the start - but throughout the day I realised it was beautiful seeing the community come together, excited to complete this project together. Am so grateful for their help and I loved getting to know them so much better as well!










54 comments:

  1. Amazing. Simple amazing. Your passion and works are an inspiration. I love how you see beauty in the simple things. Keep it up!

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  2. Simply awesome! You're very "RED" now (大紅人)。
    Looking forward to more creations from you!

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  3. Thank you for bringing a smile to my day. This piece is absolutely stunning and I love the execution. Your use of the different sock colors is very clever, and I love the thought you put into it. Beautiful, Red!

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  4. Amazing, I love the shadows created using different shades of socks and definitely looking forward for your next creations. I am officially your fan.

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  5. i love zhang yi mou's films and they are always so artistic.

    now, zym aside, the sock portrait is interesting. :)

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  6. You are truly talented. Cann't wait to see your solo exhibition!

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  7. I just watched one of his latest film 'Flowers of War' and it was good! what u did was something great too. Keep it up, Malaysia boleh! =D

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  8. I am a new follower and am so inspired by your genius and talent. Keep it up. I will come to your exhibition I promise!

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  9. You are very creative indeed ! Maybe one day you should come back to Malaysia and make one over here.
    Maybe our Bapa Malaysia Tunku Abdul Rahman's portrait would be great!

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  10. You are incredibly talented. Beautiful work!

    eli
    eli-a-porter.blogspot.com

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  11. You keep astounding us with your creativity and talent. Always wonder what you'll come up with next. ;)
    Not only do you do portraits at a whole new level, you also create awareness of your subjects!

    Salute!

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  12. When we got the good responds with all those hard works, we will felt satisfied. I'm so so happy for you! :)

    p/s : I'm on the go with the an official bloggers contest, wish me luck! :)

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  13. Amazing! Just a small correction but I don't think Zhang Yimou had anything to do with Memoirs of a Geisha.

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  14. Yi!! That's amazing!!!
    Good luck for the e.g. Conference!!
    Laura

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  15. Yi, What can I say but is awe by your passion and drive to complete this amazing work of art.
    Its amazing! Best wishes for the e.g. conference.
    Ann Kang

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  16. This is super awesomeness! My chin dropped to the floor when I saw ur amazing work... WOW Yi!! You are beyond amazing.. ^^

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  17. Really great work! Those diamond socks do make for a cool pattern. Also, I love all the people getting involved in the process. They made me laugh:)

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  18. u re supernatural!!11 proud as a malaysian!!!

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  19. love your work hongyi! keep it up the creativity. normy.

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  20. I hope I will be able come to your exhibition in Shanghia someday. Love your work!

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  21. What r you going to do with those socks after you are done with them?!?

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  22. Great work!
    PS. Memoirs of a Geisha was directed by Rob Marshall

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  23. AMAZING! this is a lot of work but you make it look so effortless

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  24. Wow~ This is truly amazing. You are such a born genius. Keep up the great work. I hope to see more unique compositions from you in the future~ By the way, the Jay Chou portrait with coffee was out of this world! Extremely beautiful indeed~ :)

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  25. You come up with the most incredible ideas. I'm continually blown away by your talent. I met up with Heather on my trip to Istanbul and she couldn't stop singing her praises about you. Keep up the wonderful job.

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  26. Very nice!
    I love it, congratulations!

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  27. Hi Yi!!
    Hope you're fine and I'm sure you're having an incredible journey!

    I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award!!:)
    http://laubao.wordpress.com/2012/04/24/versatile-blogger-award/

    Laura

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  28. I'VE HaD YOUR BLOG BOOKED MARKED FOR QUITE A WHILE!!! YOU ARE AWESOME!!!I DONT KNOW WHY IT'S TOOK ME SO LONG TO FOLLOW!!! BUT I'M HAPPY THAT I HAVE!!!!
    MUCH LOVE
    Chari T (deep fried stilettos)xoxo

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  29. Replies
    1. massive crack on it :(
      but it still works :)

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  30. Hi there!
    I just discovered your blog and I LOVE your artwork ! You've got yourself a fan in Belgium now!
    Keep up the beautifull work.

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    Replies
    1. hiii! sorry i'm replying so late - trying to reply everyone individually from now on! :p

      thanks so much - i visited Belgium two yrs ago and LOVE it! esp love ur chocolates,haha!

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  31. This is amazing and inspiring!!!

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  32. really like it!

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  33. when you did your first piece of Weiwei people said you were a seedy artist, then you were just another dribbling kid with your Yao Ming piece. next you woke us all up with your Jay Chou Coffee Stain Portrait, and now you are now finally reduced to hanging up your laundry in public... good on you girl, keep it up, You Are Wonderfully Made, and we all owe you a FREE LUNCH!

    thanks for giggles and the art ... its always a pleasure.

    if you are what viral is all about, i don't need no vaccine .................................

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    Replies
    1. u're too nice David. thanks so much :)

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  34. that is so freaking awesome! :D I'm gonna share this post on my blog ^^! -it'll be published at 6 am -GMT +1- your work really inspire me! n_n I'm looking forward to see more of your artworks!

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    1. haha replying really late but, thanks SO much!

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  35. So.......How many socks die you end up using? I really like it. Also, I'm curious if you took a picture of the back side. I wonder what it looks like. Also, is the whole thing held together with safety pins? It seems like it would be heavy and I'd think you'd need really strong ones for the top of the artwork.
    SBH

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    Replies
    1. 750 pairs of socks in total - and yes, held up by safety pins and a wire frame!

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  36. Thank you so much guys - I truly appreciate all the support and encouragement!!

    xoxo

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  37. OMG, I think I fall in love with you :)

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  38. Your art is beautiful and inspiring!
    I can't help noticing your gorgeous hair and outfits too!
    You used to do daily outfits; are you going to continue that soon?
    And I'd love to know how you keep your hair so smooth and shiny!

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  39. Oh, It's so great! You are very nonstandart artist! Love all You works!

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  40. You keep astounding us with your creativity and talent. Always wonder what you'll come up with next. ;)
    Not only do you do portraits at a whole new level, you also create awareness of your subjects!

    Salute!

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