Textile Installation 2020
In the late 19 century, the booming demand for embroidery workers for the opera costume industry in southern china draw numerous village people to the city. Many came without skill. Since the embroidery skill can be highly transferrable without mobility restriction, it becomes their survival tool as they moved to Hong Kong later when wars broke out in China. A skill responds to the social, economic, and cultural demands within a particular time in China.
Embroidery requires well-trained skill to deliver its beauty, which only passes on within one family or later through apprenticeship. Its artwork conveys expressive cultural contexts associated with tradition and value also one’s self-cultivation that reveals one’s social and cultural states. Attention is given much to the façade of an embroidery, whereas the messy thread works are meant to be hidden underneath.
This video explores the interchangeability between practical, emotional, and esthetic composition in our daily experience through the shift of our perspectives. Underneath the ordinary, there are fascinating crosslines, cuts, and knots that illustrated the formation of the life span.
“Shrinkage” is a process of refinement in traditional Embroidery. But to shrink physically, or conceptually, is to restrict our subjectivity to interpret a matter but to review the other side of reality from another perspective. The process may open up a new horizon to reflect on the correlation of one’s mundane duties, spiritual stability, and physical existence.
This artwork was created after the completion of a research project about the embroidery industry in Guangzhou under the impact of the Cantonese Opera Costume industry at the turn of the 20th century.
Video Credit: Knocknock Avant