Thursday, October 14, 2010

Made in China

The words Made in China are on pretty much everything we buy nowadays, mass-produced in mega-factories. On the face of it, Ai Weiwei's installation of 100 million porcelain replica sunflower seeds in Tate's Turbine Hall is more of the same, but actually each is hand-fired and hand-painted by inhabitants of Jingdezhen, the 'porcelain capital' of China. Is this mass production or individual craftsmanship? How many of them are there really? Is it OK to pocket one? Will kids choke on them? (this comment is raging in the blogosphere; I mean, come on...) How much did it cost? Is it art? Isn't it a bit boring? Isn't it beautiful? As usual, it's the debate that's just as interesting and important than any aesthetic appeal.

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