Paper Med No.18

Su Xianzhong Chinese

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 205

This sculpture demonstrates Su Xianzhong’s innovative way of linking his work to traditional forms. The artist is from a respected potter’s family in Dehua, a historical center of white porcelain production in China. His great grandfather Su Xuejin (1869–1919) established a famous workshop producing white porcelain sculptures of legendary and religious figures in the early twentieth century. The Met acquired a sculpture of an immortal with deer by Su Xuejin in 1934 (34.13). The undulating porcelain sheets on the current piece recall the curving draperies on his great grandfather’s traditional porcelain figures. But the contemporary artist successfully used a new technique—combining fabric and porcelain slip—to create a lively trompe l’oeil effect. Porcelain appears to be transformed into paper. Like his ancestor’s figures, this piece is imbued with life energy and a sense of movement.

Paper Med No.18, Su Xianzhong (Chinese, born 1968), White porcelain, kiln brick, China

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