shao yinong & muchen: banknote tapestries
 
shao yinong & muchen: banknote tapestries
apr 29, 2011

shao yinong & muchen: banknote tapestries

10,000 chinese note (dr. sun yat-sen), 1942 image @ designboom

chinese artists shao yinong and muchen produce works which reflect the cultural revolution in contemporary chinese society. drawing on the pursuit of wealth, one of the central narratives of humanity, the husband and wife team’s latest project ‘spring and autumn’ is a series of twelve embroidered tapestries featuring obsolete banknotes from different countries and time periods. presented for the first time at the 2011 singapore art biennale, the body of work considers the ideological shifts in political economies in china and around the world, depicting symbols of leaders, heroes and mythical figures.

here, shao yinong and muchen explore the centrality of money as a symbol of political power, something we are reminded of whenever we look at the important figures on a banknote. of their ‘spring and autumn’ series they say. ‘needling through the gold, silver and black threads presents a feeling so dazzling yet wicked, which is exactly the kind of ecstasy we attempt to create. currency becomes so feathery light and thin that it floats in the air. it looks delicate and weak but it is as sharp as a blade and fatally lethal. this is the lost arena hidden within currency.’

each of the pieces are developed using the suzhou method, one of the oldest embroidery techniques in the world. this craft involves very detailed representations of subjects embroidered onto silk, whereby in some cases, the same embroidered image is repeated on both sides of the silk fabric. in the case of ‘spring and autumn’, the delicate works suggest the fragile nature of political and economic power.

shao yinong & muchen: banknote tapestries 10,000 chinese note (dr. sun yat-sen), 1942 image @ designboom

the banknotes represented in the series are: 100 german mark note (goddess), 1908 one qing note, 1909-1911 100 russian note (catherine II), 1910 one chinese note (hunagdi), 1911 ten chinese note (god of wealth), 1920 one chinese note (temple of heaven), 1935 10,000 chinese note (dr. sun yat-sen), 1942 ten chinese note (workers and peasants), 1949 one chinese note (tian’anmen), 1956 five vietnam dong note, 1958 ten chinese note (mass united), 1963 100 chinese note (four leaders), 1990 50 U.S.S.R note (vladimir lenin), 1991

shao yinong & muchen: banknote tapestries installation view of the banknotes image @ designboom

shao yinong & muchen: banknote tapestries 100 russian note (catherine II), 1910 image @ designboom

shao yinong & muchen: banknote tapestries 100 russian note (catherine II), 1910 image @ designboom

shao yinong & muchen: banknote tapestries 100 russian note (catherine II), 1910, detail image @ designboom

shao yinong & muchen: banknote tapestries 100 chinese note (four leaders), 1990 image @ designboom

shao yinong & muchen: banknote tapestries 1990 100 chinese note (four leaders) image @ designboomshao yinong & muchen: banknote tapestries ten chinese note (workers and peasants), 1949 image @ designboom

shao yinong & muchen: banknote tapestries ten chinese note (workers and peasants), 1949 image @ designboom

shao yinong & muchen: banknote tapestries one chinese note (tian’anmen), 1956 image @ designboom

shao yinong & muchen: banknote tapestries one chinese note (temple of heaven), 1935 image @ designboom

shao yinong & muchen: banknote tapestries 100 german mark note (goddess), 1908 image @ designboom

  • These are amazing. I feel they could have been presented better (stretched, or at least pulled somewhat taut to prevent the slightly rumpled look), but amazing nonetheless.

    Paula Roegge says:

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