Zhu Qi 竹 氣
Laurent Martin ‘Lo’
28.02 – 05.05
“Without the wind this trap put together […] would not stand up; it is the wind that makes it a craft that seems endowed with an end and a purpose of its own; it is only the wind that knows where the surf and the surfer and heading” – Italo Calvino, Mr. Paloma
Puerta Roja is proud to present Zhu Qi「竹氣」, the first solo exhibition of Laurent Martin ‘Lo’ in Asia, with a new series of his bamboo artworks inspired by the artist’s travels to Hong Kong and the city’s iconic junk boats. Titled Zhu Qi, which is the literal meaning for chi or energy of bamboo, the exhibition is centred around the theme of wind and sails referring to Hong Kong’s maritime origins and seascapes.
The exhibition displays a brand-new series of works from the artist’s Junk series, featuring the large-scale mobile installation Typhoon as one of the show’s highlights. The piece captures the storm’s power whilst reflecting the equilibrium in the forces of nature. Although from a Western perspective, the artistic practice of Laurent Martin ‘Lo’ has developed around Eastern philosophical and spiritual beliefs he has encountered during his travels across the Asian continent. ‘Lo’ interprets the ancient and traditional material of bamboo whilst alluding to the balance of the four natural elements (earth, wood, fire and air).
The artist’s gravity-defying bamboo sculptures swing in the air, drawing curves of harmony like the gracious strokes of Chinese calligraphy. His creations immerse the viewer in the physical and sensorial virtues of the organic material, closely bound to the forces of nature. Following the knots and fibres of the plant, the sculpture is shaped using tension and fishing rods. Like Calder’s mobiles, the pieces follow mathematical laws of movement and balance, where his manipulation of the bamboo from solid canes to articulating contours creates elegant mobile sculptures. The result entails not only the bamboo itself, but the intangible hollow space within as well as the shadows and silhouettes they project. A fragile harmony is achieved through opposites: flexibility and strength, fullness and void, light and shadow, movement and quietness.