Portrait made of socks, bamboo sticks and pins

A very interesting project made in Shanghai.

This is the explanation of the author. Enjoy!

When I first moved to Shanghai, I stumbled upon an old residential alleyway and saw bamboo sticks poking out of windows with laundry hanging onto them, waving in the air.
I thought that was an incredibly beautiful sight. And the amazing thing is seeing something so traditional in a modern, bustling city like Shanghai. That inspired me to do a project in the old residential area that I live at, and I wanted to use materials that local residents are familiar with, but arrange and install them in a different way.
I thought that Zhang Yimou’s portrait would be perfect for this project. Zhang Yimou is a famous Chinese film director, who directed the movies Hero, House of Flying Daggers, Curse of the Golden Flower, and also was the art director for the Beijing Olympics. Many of his movies reflect the beauty of the Chinese culture, through the use of bamboos and traditional costumes.
The initial idea was to collect LOTS of shirts and hang them up with many bamboo poles but I found shirts really hard to manipulate – they’re too big and I figured out that they project would blow my budget as well.  I ended up using the smallest piece of clothing item I could find – socks. I used 750 pairs of socks and found an interesting way to pin the socks together, creating a diamond-shaped piece of skin. It was interesting to see the different angles of shadows cast on it throughout the day.
Chinese film director Zhang Yimou.
Laundry hung out to dry on bamboo sticks.
I thought this was an amazing site – this is a little laneway near where I stay…it was a sunny day and residents hung lots of laundry out to dry…
Inspired by Zhang Yimou’s work – he shows lots of bamboos in his movies, and I love the traditional Chinese costumes his characters wear as well…
One day while wandering around, I saw this and thought, “Why not use socks instead of shirts!?”

My awesome colleagues at HASSELL helped me pin all 750 pairs of socks together!

Pinning the socks onto a bamboo pole…

Installing the piece…underestimated how heavy this piece was!

Neighbours and friends came over to help

Dad’s sketch helped me overcome my problem of the piece being horribly distorted!

So relieved and happy that it held up and actually looked like his face! Worked so hard for this, for over 3 weeks

It turned out to be a community project – my neighbours came to help and it was VERY chaotic and noisy – everyone was telling me what to do and helping me move stuff around, which honestly was pretty annoying at the start – but throughout the day I realised it was beautiful seeing the community come together, excited to complete this project together. Am so grateful for their help and I loved getting to know them so much better as well!
+ FONT: here

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