Thursday, February 21, 2013
What is Valuable?
The bowl is from Japan and the rice is from Italy and this photo was taken in my kitchen. This is the beginning of an homage to Al Weiwei. If you don't quite get it, you will have to read the prior post for help. As I look at this photo I remember driving by a busy corner as I was entering the city of Jogjakarta in Indonesia and seeing a totally naked and very thin woman who looked well into her 60's with an empty rice bowl held out in her hand. Others stood around her trying to cross the street and truly appeared not to see her. That image will never leave my consciousness.
If you look closer at this photo above you will realize that these two bowls do not contain rice. The bowls are made of the finest porcelain from China and the shiny objects are a half-ton of freshwater pearls. (Weiwei 2006) The bowls are exactly one meter in diameter. I think I am in sync with Weiwei by putting these two photos in the same blog. Which do you think is worth more? Depends on who you are and how full your belly is I guess.
I was very tempted to let my hands feel the tactile sensation of of these shiny orbs.
"The choice of materials and the use of traditional techniques show his determination to highlight in these artworks both his “Chineseness” and his active subversion of it, as in Bowl of Pearls (2006). This sculpture consists of a pair of bowls one meter in diameter filled with freshwater pearls. While abundance of pearls can symbolize wealth and provoke a strong desire, the large number displayed in the bowl is such that it triggers an opposite feeling. The feeling of value and preciousness commonly associated with pearls, when displayed in a small quantity, is replaced by an ordinary feeling despite the pearls’ inner beauty." Review from Mori Art Museum.
This is my small personal collection of both freshwater and salt water pearls, and since some were handed down from an elder relative, their value is much greater to me emotionally than practically.