In the village at the edge of the Eastern Leaves forest there were some stones crafted by humans that were meant to last forever, but they have been demolished and neglected. They lied abandoned close to a newly built bricks house. We have collected and worked on them, getting rid once and for all of our silly ephemera-phobia.
he project main concrete element is the typical roof-tile, the only durable construction piece used in the old and now demolished South-West Yunnan village houses where we live and work for a long part of our time.
These tiles have been our “ephemeral stones”: made to last, at least in our imaginary, but still demolished, replaced, and we felt the need to think about it, working on our ephemera-phobia.
“Ephemeral Stones” concept originates from our reflections on the supposed cultural lost by the tribes and cultural minorities who inhabit the mountain where we grow our tea trees, who are relentlessly exchanging their original building styles with modern brick houses, giving a completely new visual landscape to their mountain villages.
It is a different situation from what is happening in other historical Chinese cities, as is the case of Beijing hutongs, where the city architecture transformation is often planned by the authority that is seen as the only, almost tangible responsible evil for this supposed lost of authenticity.
On these mountains, so far away from the central authority, the transformation is a natural product of the original inhabitants growing richness, that translates itself in the building of living spaces with new elements that has never appeared in their culture before. The mixed-looking appearance of the rebuilt villages often shocks and confuses the neutral observer that expects to find a cultural purity he thought lost in the cities, but preserved in the wild mountains on the edge of the continent.
We have collected these tiles and brought them in Jingdezhen, the most ancient district for porcelain production, where artisan have been reproducing and improving the same excellent production techniques for 1700 years, using the same raw materials and the same physical places.
We coated the tiles with a further cultural layer, the strongest we could imagine within the same boundaries, with the work of three artists named Li Wenqiao, Qiyi and Shousan, each of them with a peculiar style and personal research complementary to the other’s ones.
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