Suspended sculpture of a light brown mountain. The mountain's edges appear like cliffs and stairways lead to a series of buildings on the top.

Quiz: Can You Guess the Artwork Material?

Contemporary art and design are incredibly varied in the unique materials that they make use of. The M+ Collections is no exception: They contain a lot of diverse and occasionally strange materials that one might not readily associate with art-making.

Take this quiz to see if you can recognise the main materials used in ten artworks and design objects from the M+ Collections.

Take other visual culture quizzes on M+ Stories!


Image at top of post: Liu Wei, Don’t Touch!, 2010. M+ Sigg Collection, Hong Kong. By donation. © Liu Wei

A barefoot man dressed in the brown robes of a Franciscan monk lies down on a cobblestone street. He is rolling himself along the street, wrapping himself in a thick paper rope. He is surrounded by a watching crowd of people. He holds his hood to cover his head.

A Look at Globalisation and Language in Contemporary Chinese Art

The Sigg Prize 2019 Exhibition is focused on artists born or working in a specific geographic region: that of Greater China. However, the exhibition is filled with languages and cultural particularities from beyond this region, such as Japanese, Korean, Italian, and English.

Below, Pi Li, Sigg Senior Curator, Visual Art, shares his thoughts on whether this is part of a larger trend that reflects a new globalised generation of Chinese artists. He looks at how three of the artists in the exhibition incorporate different languages: Shen Xin, Tao Hui, and Lin Yilin.

***

Monochrome video still of a man and woman sitting opposite each other at a small table. They are holding hands. A third person holds a clapperboard in front of them and holds it open, ready to clap it shut.

‘Everything Goes Wrong for the Poor Couple’: An Artistic Partnership

Readers voted to feature this work in the series From the Collections.

Everything Goes Wrong for the Poor Couple (2010) by Kwan Sheung Chi and Wong Wai Yin is a video artwork narrating the tragic events in the life of a husband and wife, played by the artists.

The work is inspired by old-style Cantonese melodramas and movies from the 1950s and 1960s, particularly the 1952 film Everything Goes Wrong for the Poor Couple, directed by Ng Wui. The title of the film was extracted from a classic Chinese poem An Elegy II, written by prominent Tang Dynasty Chinese poet Yuan Zhen. In this mournful verse, the poet expressed deep sorrow and yearning after the death of his beloved wife, who previously shared a hard life with him. The last line of the poem reads: ‘This is a sorrow that all mankind must know / But not as those know it who have been poor together.’ After thousands of years, the last line of this poem has become a proverb with a widely accepted interpretation: couples in poverty are doomed to live a miserable life—‘everything goes wrong for the poor couple’.

Two people stand in front of a large flat artwork consisting of thousands of used teabags sewn together. The person on the left is brandishing a small paintbrush, hovering it over the work.

How Do You Conserve an Artwork Made Out of Teabags?

Leung Mee Ping created her work Elsewhere V (2014) by stitching 10,000 Chinese teabags onto stretched fabric by hand. It is part of the Elsewhere series, which she began in 1991 after a close friend passed away. Forlorn and drinking tea everyday, she started sewing her drying teabags into an artwork. The repetitive action of sewing the teabags represented a meditative contemplation on life and death. The work entered the M+ Collections in 2016.

The completed conservation and stabilisation of the work was an unusual process, because it couldn’t be neatly placed in a single category. Should the paintings conservator conserve it, because it is on a flat surface? Should it be the objects conservator, because the work has a sculptural, three-dimensional quality? Should it be the paper conservator, because the teabags are made out of paper? In the end, all three specialists decided to collaborate on the work: another example of how the diverse M+ Collections bring these overlapping areas of expertise together.

Below, the three conservators explain how they and their team dealt with this unique work.

Interviewees:

  • Natalie Harding, Conservator, Objects
  • Jofan Huang, Conservator, Paper
  • Karina Jagudina, Conservator, Paintings