Edited by Ian Were. Essays by Suhanya Raffel, Lynne Seear, and Rhana Devenport. Foreword by Doug Hall.
Published by Queensland Art Gallery
Ah Xian's breathtaking work “Human Human - Lotus, Cloisonné Figure” is an exceptional example of contemporary figurative sculpture, one that melds traditional materials with up-to-date conceptual concerns. The life-sized female form, stocky and thick in its bodily curves, stands solidly covered in a delicate pattern of pink lotus flowers, wide leaves, and long stems. Its construction relied on a labor-intensive technique practiced in China since the thirteenth century, cloisonné, which involves forming a copper base; soldering small filigree copper strips (cloisons) to it, usually in a pattern; applying fine enamel pastes to the small compartments separated by the cloisons; firing the whole in a kiln dug in the earth; repeating the enamel and firing steps until all compartments are filled; grinding and polishing until the surface is uniform; and, finally, gilding the exposed copper sections. Earlier works by Xian reveal similar concerns, including busts made in jade inlay, carved lacquer, and stained, pierced, or glazed porcelain.
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