I have been working on a sculpture that uses images gathered from my recent trip to Kashgar. During the trip I focused on photographing Kashgar’s old city, which is in the midst of a major overhaul/renovation. It’s a highly contentious initiative to revamp the area, opposed by many but well under way. There’s an informative post by Stefan Geens here. To my eyes it seemed that buildings are being rebuilt and remodeled in the regional style though it’s difficult to know how often this is the case, and I don’t know what has been destroyed. In any case, the entire area is undergoing a transformation, and it it is very difficult to discern in some areas whether the buildings are being torn down or built up. I suspect there are many competing visions of development and conservation here even beyond the Eastern China/Western China dialogue.
I was given access to the interiors of two different houses in the process of completion. One seemed to be a new build and one a renovation. Both used an incredible amount of decorative woodwork, columns, molding, elaborate stairwells with banisters, etcetera. What I found most interesting was the contrast between the highly ornate interiors and the stark cubelike exteriors of painted mud and brick. The only time ornament was apparent on the exterior was when a portion of the interior layout opened through an outer wall revealing a stairs or small deck. The contrast led me to sort of obsess about what I was behind the relatively plain wooden doors that were impeding my view of the other homes.
My sculpture’s form is taken from that of the column capitals inside the house overlooking one of the higher points of the old city. The inside will be wood, perhaps cypress, and the outside will be laminated prints of various doors and windows I photographed. The images in this collection are not necessarily the best photographs I took, nor the most descriptive of the changes taking place in the Old City. Rather they are a collection of the materials and visual textures, primarily from doors, windows and gateways that make up this place.
I’ve finished the digital model and the pattern. I am having that printed tomorrow and will start the woodwork at the factory after several weeks.