Ocula MagazineContentsView All
Featured ContentView All
Sunjung Kim’s Real DMZ Project Interrogates the North and South Korea Divide Ocula Conversation Sunjung Kim’s Real DMZ Project Interrogates the North and South Korea Divide

Ongoing since 2012, the Real DMZ Project interrogates the demilitarised zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea through annual, research-based exhibitions that bring together the works of Korean and international artists. Sunjung Kim, the independent curator behind the project, conceived the idea of exploring the DMZ while curating Japanese artist...

Fade out copy.
Read More
Frieze Week Lowdown: London Shows to See Ocula Report Frieze Week Lowdown: London Shows to See 20 Sep 2019 : Tessa Moldan for Ocula

London's galleries and museums are gearing up for a lively October, with Frieze London and Frieze Masters running between 3 and 6 October 2019 at Regent's Park, along with 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, taking place across the same dates at Somerset House; and the tenth anniversary of the Sunday Art Fair, showcasing new and emerging artists...

Fade out copy.
Read More
Mark Bradford’s Call for Unity at Shanghai’s Long Museum Ocula Insight | Video Mark Bradford’s Call for Unity at Shanghai’s Long Museum 16 August 2019

Mark Bradford walks through Mark Bradford: Los Angeles Mark Bradford: Los Angeles at the Long Museum West Bund in Shanghai (27 July–13 October 2019) is the artist's largest solo exhibition to date in China. In this video for Ocula, Bradford and Diana Nawi, curator of the show, walk through selected works that convey the artist's concerns with...

Fade out copy.
Read More

Liang Shaoji

b. 1945, China

Liang Shaoji (梁绍基) works across installation, sculpture, film and textile, and is best known for his use of the silkworm as both the subject matter and material of his practice. Drawing upon Chinese tradition and philosophy, Liang incorporates the process of sericulture—an ancient Chinese practice of rearing silkworms to harvest their silk—into his work. Interestingly enough, the Chinese words for poetry and silk are in fact homonyms. This linguistic relationship illustrates a cultural relationship between the material and philosophy of Liang's work.

From 1986 to 1989, Liang studied at Varbanov Institute of Tapestry in China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, alongside Marin Varbanov—one of the world's leading tapestry artists. Early in his practice Liang focused on textile hangings and installations, mainly concerned with the materiality of fibre in space. The turning point of Liang's career arrived in 1989 with his inclusion in China/Avant-Garde at the National Art Museum of China in Beijing. This exhibition is seen as a key moment of China's art history. It presented a wide range of experimental practices and was shut down two hours after opening, when fellow artist Xiao Lu shot her installation, Dialogue (1989), with a pellet gun. These shots came to be known as the first gunshots of Tiananmen when the Tiananmen Square massacre took place four months later. Such was the avant-garde nature of the exhibition.

In China/Avant-Garde Liang presented Yi Series—Magic Cube (1988). The work comprised cubes made of metal frames with metal geometric patterns incorporated into their structure. Silk was draped over a few of the cubes, while rice paper wrapped some others. Hidden lights illuminated the translucent surfaces and their steel frames. Also illuminated were the faint shadows of dry silkworm cocoons, spread out across the silk and paper like stars in the sky. Later, when in the process of re-installing the work in Hangzhou, a breeze caused the cocoons to sway in the light. This sight led Liang to consider working with living silkworms. From there, Liang began the investigation that would consume the rest of his life, using the silkworm as the starting point to consider the life-hood of all beings, both within a human-centred philosophy and outside of it. Additionally, Liang focused on exploring the relationship between humanity and nature.

Silk is the proof of a silkworm's short life and its last legacy before mothhood. Silkworms generally have a lifespan of six to eight weeks, and the silkworm's cocooning is, in Kagyu Buddhism, a symbol of samsara—the cycle of life and death. Liang explores such concepts in his 'Nature Series'. At Hayward Gallery in the exhibition Art of Change: New Directions From China (7 September-9 December 2012), Liang presented his 'Nature Series' piece, Listening to the Silkworm/Nature Series No. 98 (2006/12), in which visitors listened to the sounds of silkworms chewing on mulberry leaves, as well as spinning their silk cocoons. The quiet, bubbly munching sound of their eating forced viewers to consider a pacing of existence separate from their own. One of his earlier works in this series was called Bed/Nature Series No. 10 (1993-99). For this work, Liang raised silkworms in beds made of copper wire. Liang continued this work over seven years, and exhibited it at the 1999 Venice Biennale. In Cloud Mirror/Nature Series No. 101 (2007), Liang placed and filmed mirrors covered with silkworm silk threads on Tiantai Mountain. This reflected how the silkworm spins its fibre in figure eights—the symbol of infinity. The clouds reflected from the sky above merge with the soft clouds of the raw silk threads. Liang finds in the finite life cycle of such a delicate creation a realisation of the infinite.

Casey Carsel | Ocula | 2018
Fade out copy.
Read More

Featured Artworks

View All (34)
Guiguzi 鬼谷子 by Liang Shaoji contemporary artwork
Liang ShaojiGuiguzi 鬼谷子, 2009 Silk, iron wire
ShanghART
Tree of Life by Liang Shaoji contemporary artwork
Liang ShaojiTree of Life, 2017 Lightbox, silk, X-ray film
44 x 36 x 4 cm
ShanghART
Snow in the Woods by Liang Shaoji contemporary artwork
Liang ShaojiSnow in the Woods, 2016 Willow branches, silk, porcelain, cocoons, burned keyboard, wooden board
34 x 244 x 122 cm
ShanghART
Breathe by Liang Shaoji contemporary artwork
Liang ShaojiBreathe, 2017 Lightbox, silk, X-ray film
44 x 106 x 4 cm
ShanghART
Silk Shadow 4 by Liang Shaoji contemporary artwork
Liang ShaojiSilk Shadow 4, 2008 Colour chromogenic print
91.5 x 81.5 cm
ShanghART
Cocoon Bottle by Liang Shaoji contemporary artwork
Liang ShaojiCocoon Bottle, 2015 Cocoon, silk, porcelain
26 x 12 x 21 cm
ShanghART

Recent Exhibitions

View All (8)
Contemporary art exhibition, Geng Jianyi, Liang Shaoji, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Artist Trio Show at ShanghART, Beijing
Closed
13 July–25 August 2019 Geng Jianyi, Liang Shaoji, Apichatpong Weerasethakul Artist Trio Show ShanghART, Beijing
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, White Flash at ShanghART, Beijing
Closed
5–31 August 2018 Group Exhibition White Flash ShanghART, Beijing
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Show, 7 SEVEN at ShanghART, Singapore
Closed
21 November 2015–10 January 2016 Group Show 7 SEVEN ShanghART, Singapore

Represented By

In Ocula Magazine

LACMA Explores the Allure of Matter Ocula Report LACMA Explores the Allure of Matter 14 Jun 2019 : Jareh Das for Ocula

The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) (2 June 2019–5 January 2020) is an inter-generational show of 21 Chinese artists working from the 1980s to the present, including Ai Weiwei, Cai Guo-Qiang, Lin Tianmiao, Song Dong, He Xiangyu, Yin Xiuzhen, and Ma Qiusha.Staged on Level 2 of LACMA's Renzo...

Fade out copy.
Read More
Shanghai Museum Shows: “Myth / History II” at the Yuz Museum and “Xu Zhen Solo Show” at the Long Museum Ocula Report Shanghai Museum Shows: “Myth / History II” at the Yuz Museum and “Xu Zhen Solo Show” at the Long Museum 28 Apr 2015 : Sam Gaskin for Ocula

Two private museums beside the Huangpu River are celebrating their first birthdays this spring. The Long Museum West Bund, which opened in March 2014, is marking the occasion with a Xu Zhen solo show, while the Yuz Museum, which opened last May, has at last launched its second exhibition. Both shows are milestone moments in the...

Fade out copy.
Read More

In Related Press

SHA SHA SHA LIANG SHAOJI Related Press SHA SHA SHA LIANG SHAOJI ArtAsiaPacific : 1 June 2017

Silkworms are surprisingly noisy creatures. For proof, look no further than Liang Shaoji's Moon Garden (2015), a single-channel video work that captures the caterpillars' instinctive, relentless chomping of mulberry leaves and movement as they spin raw silk. Recorded by Liang as he lay on the floor to film the creatures, as if himself a silkworm,...

Fade out copy.
Read More
Liang Shaoji Related Press Liang Shaoji ArtReview : 1 June 2015

Last October, when Liang Shaoji's exhibition Back to Origin was on show at ShanghART Gallery in Shanghai, I was coincidentally reading Catching the Big Fish (2006), David Lynch's book on meditation and creativity. In it, the American film director says: 'Ideas are like fish... if you want to catch the big fish, you've got to go deeper.' Over the...

Fade out copy.
Read More
Five rising stars  of Chinese contemporary art Related Press Five rising stars of Chinese contemporary art Christies : 13 March 2015

To mark the opening of Art Basel Hong Kong and our Asia+ sales, five international curators each tip the Chinese contemporary artist they feel most excited about right now.Lu Yang Recommended by David Elliot, curator of the Hayward Gallery's Art From Elsewhere exhibition (currently at the Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery)'At last, women artists...

Fade out copy.
Read More
The art of a silkworm's weave by Liang Shaoji Related Press The art of a silkworm's weave by Liang Shaoji designboom : 22 November 2012

On show at the Hayward Gallery in London as part of the Art of Change: New Directions from China exhibition is the work of Chinese artist Liang Shaoji, well known for infusing elements of nature in his installations. The exposition presents a selection of works from his 'Nature Series' which Shaoji began in 1988 where he orchestrated the stunning...

Fade out copy.
Read More

Sign up to be notified when new artworks and exhibitions by Liang Shaoji are added to Ocula.

WeChat

Scan the QR Code via WeChat to follow Ocula's official account.

Scan to follow Ocula on WeChat.
iCal GoogleYahooOutlook