Monday, 14 February 2011

Yingge Ceramics Museum and afterthoughts on Bilbao.

Yingge Ceramics Museum, Taiwan

Identity speaking, Taiwan has always been overshadowed due to the unrelenting political victimization by mainland China.  This has damaged its strengths of cultural tourism as potential visitors would opt for neighboring destinations like China and Japan in the first place.

Permanent exhibition of local ceramic development.

Yingge Ceramics Museum (鶯歌陶瓷博物館) of Taiwan, introduced here for readers, is an outstanding museum on ceramics.  My visit to the museum on December 2010 was worth the effort of 30 minute train ride from the city of Taipei.  The permanent exhibitions showing the ceramic folk art of Taiwan was a great vista to understand the ceramics development on the island, social-political transformations of the indigenous people, and from the Japanese occupation during the previous century.  The special exhibition on Spanish ceramic art displayed a high standard of art pieces and installations.  It was a personal discovery on what ceramics art has achieved and opened up thoughts on possibilities.

Serie Cactus by Lina Cofan, 2009

Nubes by Maria Bofill, 2007

Sin titulo I-V by Carmen Ballester, 2007

The museum also extends to a series of open parkland surrounding the building under the thematic names of Fire Arena, Earth Passage, Water Fount and Wind Channel, the elements that are indispensable in the making of ceramics.

All in all, the museum was rich in content, informative in its presentation and well managed.  From a close observation on the demeanour of museum personnel, be it concierge, security staff or even janitor, one could deduce how serious this establishment takes itself.  It was impressive in every detail.


Fire Arena

Earth Passage.  Yeah, a bit cheesy.

Water Fount

Wind Channel

The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao immediately sprang to mind for comparison due to a recent visit.  Though located in different context, Yingge was definitely underrated whereas Bilbao, from this personal experience, was a let-down in general.  The shining titanium building designed by the starchitect, Frank Gehry, was a calculated hype that managed to lure flocks of visitors.

The label of Gehry was still a guarantee to success a decade ago.  The architecture as a shell was spectacularly predictable owing to its ubiquitous presence as quotable image; however the interior and exhibits did not live up to expectation at all.  It was a big budgeted project, to the effect of many Hollywood mega-movies loaded with big names, which did not endure in one’s loving memory.  Worse, after visiting hyped up museum like Bilbao, I occasionally lapse into the analogy of feeding on junk food: craving sensation beforehand but bad aftertaste to follow.

Expensive titanium cladding of Bilbao Guggenheim

Token interactive works by Richard Serra as part of the permanent collection in Bilbao.

Another article on Frank Gehry appears under the label of 'architecture'.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Demise of Egg House in Beijing

Egg House at public pavement.

Birth of an Idea

The 24 year old architect intern Dai Hai-fei (戴海飛) designed and built this ingenious home for himself in October 2010.  With around RMB6500 (US$1000), he built the egg shaped house that included a bed, small table and wash basin at the interior.  On the outside, it was cladded and insulated with sacking and glass seeds that was just beginning to grow in December 2010.  A small solar panel was installed to generate bear minimum lighting at night.  A green architecture true to form.

Bash all Non-conformists

His fast and unintended shot to fame through the internet, and later widely reported by conventional media, drawn in huge public attentions that relevant (or irrelevant) Beijing authority decided to remove Dai’s house on reason of illegal structure recently.

Overdose of Media Exposures

The China system, be it a way of life or implementation of law and order, can be surprisingly slack and varied.  This means the egg house could have survived a bit longer.  However by attracting too much attention, touchy to the Chinese government, the power of the internet and media this time has helped kill an innocent course.

A star is born, only very briefly.

Small sackcloths cladding the Egg House in detail.

At night, the house is simply surreal.

Nestled feeling of home.

Dai (third from left) was an idol outside the realty price spiralling game.