chiara goia captures chinese artists reproducing sculptures chiara goia captures chinese artists reproducing sculptures
jan 07, 2014

chiara goia captures chinese artists reproducing sculptures

chiara goia captures chinese artists reproducing sculptures
all images courtesy of chiara goia




dong cheng is a small suburb in china where nearly every commercial activity is responsible for the imitation of renowned, classical sculptures. italian photographer chiara goia has captured a series of images documenting the labor intensive, highly-specialized, and — to some extent — bizarre community that comprises the ‘sculptors village’. camouflaged in a thick layer of white powder that blankets the scene, the local artisans are pictured in the midst of their work day, chiseling out faux reproductions of michelangelo’s ‘david’ and replicas of the ancient greek masterwork ‘venus de milo’. strange juxtapositions manifest in photos that catalog the subject in its surroundings; an image of ‘david’ proudly standing before a traditional chinese edifice, adjacent to a worn motor bike feels undoubtedly incongruous. the craftspeople employed there carve and cut near-perfect clones of the original statues, yet their role as creators is somehow diminished by the counterfeit product they deliver. through the series, goia contemplates the boundaries between the fine arts, craft, imitation and fakes and asks, ‘couldn’t we define these people artists? aren’t the hands and the craft of these living sculptors, who are fulfilling a very physical and tangible job, making these objects?’



a craftsman works outside amongst broken statues



craftspeople at work on reproduction sculptures



a worker chisels away at what will be an imitation statue



many of the images in the series are categorized by a blanket of white powder that permeates the space



mechanical tools used to carve out the human form



three of michelangelo’s ‘david’ stand in a row



michelangelo’s ‘david’ in china



  • Pretty depressing. All that air born dust and not one single type of respirator in evidence for the workers. Such a totally dangerous workplace. Concrete dust inches deep on everything. Chunks of concrete everywhere under foot. No attempt at any type of safety.

    Lightmaker says:
  • Not concrete, marble dust.

    Vinson says:
  • Every artist starts out imitating other art, the difference here is the massive scale on which the imitation is being done. We may scoff at these imitators, but today’s imitators will be tomorrow’s innovators. Not all of these artists, but many of them perhaps have a spark of creativity within them just rearing to come out. Current Chinese market conditions give greater credence to imitated art, but that will change. And when that does change, the creative artists among the imitators will find their voice and will be acknowledged by the world.

    weedwacker says:

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