Monday, September 07, 2009

16-Year Old - 鄭玉奎 中國 (798)

Before I visited Beijing for the 2008 Summer Olympics,
I heard about the famous and over-priced art gallery zone 798 and was eager to visit it. My intention was for inspiration and not for collecting or buying because I actually know a trick or two of making my own craft/art creations.

However, when browsing through various galleries and studios, I fell in love with this beautiful clay statue called 16-year Old. The gallery prohibited photos but I managed to take a shot with the help of my boyfriend (That's why the picture is a bit blurry). Looking at her, I can tell the techniques applied in making the 16-year Old are slabs, coils, slips, and no glaze. It ought to be very easy for copying, I thought. However, 10 minutes after stepping out of the gallery, I decided I should ask for her price because I am not sure if I can achieve the same level of perfection as her creator's anytime soon. The result of a price check:
very expensive by American standard. The gallery explained to me that The sixteen year old is the creation of a master Chinese ceramicist, 鄭玉奎, based on the image of his own daughter, and she is a limited edition work because nobody knows if Mr. 鄭玉奎 would want to make the image of his daughter again.

Debating if I should spend the same amount of money enough to buy a round trip ticket to China, I listed all the things I like about her:
1 . Her graceful posture
2. Her lovely facial expression of a Chinese girl.
3. Her detailed Chinese top and
4. Her classic Chinese hair style.

After examining her closely, I made up my mind that she is coming home with me to San Francisco. The gallery workers noticed my interests in ceramics and took extra care of wrapping her up with layers of layers of padding, foams, and bubble wraps. They were emotional to see her go as I was emotional to bring her home.

The sixteen-year old now sits proudly in the entrance of my apartment. I called her My Sixteen Year-Old. The gallery did not forget to give me her birth certificate in case if she becomes a million-dollar doll one day. Fingers crossed. After the economic crisis in US this past summer, whenever I walk pass my 16-year Old girl, I always thought to myself how gladly I spent the money on her, rather than on some tanked mutual fund.


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