Sophisticated Chinese New Year sweet treat

We all know that France is famous for their sweets, but do you know that in China we also have very sophisticated dessert, specially when it comes to the Chinese new year.

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Chai Pao (soaked in tea)

They are more of a art than a food. They are made of a special Chinese winter melon, carefully craved then cooked in a sugar syrup for a long time. And then slowly dry with the wind.

To enjoy, make a cup of green tea, and drop in one piece of sweet melon.

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Zao tang (candy for the Kitchen God)

A sweet original from Northern China.

It is a kind of candy made of maltose that people in China use as a sacrifice to the kitchen god around the twenty third day of the twelfth lunar month just before Chinese New Year. Guandong tang refers to stick shaped candy with a thickness of 2 cm and a hollow in the center. Tanggua is made into melon shape and sometimes with sesame on the surface.

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It doesn’t matter if you’re a big fan of design, art or not, Icelandic design, or Nordic design is something special and outstanding. They use a lot of material from the natural, such as leather, feather, rocks, stones, fur, etc. and most of the time, they’re rather simple and minimalism.

Approaching Christmas, small and big markets are everywhere, people are trying to show their stuffs around Christmas.

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List = Art, hönnu = design, safn = museum.

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Dream colour

When I waked up this morning, everything was covered with snow. It’s like Christmas again. Although just few days before, it was nothing but sunshine and endless blue sky.

Well it’s in March, and it’s in Iceland, you can expect almost EVERYTHING.

Again, I waked up rather early, something around 6 and I couldn’t fall asleep again. The only sound is from the heater and the bird singing. There’re lots of ravens in Iceland. People in Asian countries think it’s a bad sign to see a raven, or a black cat. Actually they believe that the black colour somehow related to the misfortune, while the red is glamour. Black for the funeral, red for the wedding.

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I find Nordic people have a preference for cold colour – black, gray, brown, blue, white and fine line, while Topical people use much more warm colour – orange, red, green, yellow and abstract patterns.

Last day when I was walking in the middle center Reykjavik, I found that most people are dress in dark colour. It reminds me when I was in Paris, black is the colour you see the most. I even have friend who has nothing but black and gray colour in her closet. Shall I say that she’s “a la mode” or she’s just being “lazy”.

Well I have no right to judge others since me myself fancy black too. It’s chic, elegant and can not go wrong.

A friend recently shared with me an exhibition she went in Paris, of Serge Poliakoff, a french painter, original from Russia. His work is a lot about the relationships between line and surface, form and content, colour and light, which many people call it “the form of dream”.

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Who Have Arrived in Heaven

You might not familiar with the name Yayoi Kusama, although you must familiar with her artistic signature – the dot and bright colour.

She is recently showing her new painting at Gallery David Zwirner in London.

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I remembered about two years ago at her exhibition at Centre Pompidou in Paris, it was quite an experience.

If you’re lucky enough to be in London, you should not miss it, the show runs until the 21 December.

Brilliant Zsako

It was in Room 13, I came across Balint Zsako, a brilliant New-York based painting.

Personally, I love his “collage” series the best. The combination of renaissance painting and the surrealisme, massive colour, flourish, absolutely breath-taking.

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Although your new collage work continues to express themes you’ve often worked with — absurdity, humour, the figure — visually they’re a departure from most of your past work. What influenced you to reposition and appropriate the Old Masters?

There are a number of reasons why Old Masters reproductions are very attractive as source material. One of my main goals in this series was to make the finished images as seamless as possible; I wanted the works to look like they could have been painted that way a long time ago. To do this i am looking at thousands of reproductions, sometimes looking for a hand that is the right size, facing in the right direction, that is the right tone, making the right gesture. The quantity of available reproductions of this kind of work is what allows me to make my collages possible.

Most of my source material comes from auction catalogues. I love the high quality of the reproductions and also that the works are obscure or by minor painters. You can’t really collage Leonardo or Rubens these days because everyone will recognize it, after Warhol this would be exploring an entirely different conceptual theme, one that I am not concerned with at the moment.

The style of the painting has to match as well. This is what’s great about old paintings, you can go from Renaissance painting up to the Pre-Raphaelites and find an abundance of source material that can be matched seamlessly.

Also, re-arranging the meaning would not be possible the same way if i were to use modern or contemporary art. There is a language of Old Master paintings which allow for the juxtapositions and contrasts that I am interested in. In my work you notice that the woman completely covered in flowing fabric with everything but her breast and a knife covered looks plausible, but it doesn’t match up with anything else in art history books. This is much more difficult to do after modern art where many more things are permitted, and the rules are more open.

I love the obsessive quality of finding just the right component for your collages. Do you start with a compositional idea in your head, or do the collages emerge more organically through searching these catalogues?

Usually the collages are built around one main element like a figure or location, everything else is improvised. I don’t know what direction each one is going to take, it’s a lot of trial and error before finally gluing a section down.

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Can you elaborate on your interest in the figure?

I want my work to be accessible to a wide audience, and the figure is the most basic way to do this. Also, it is good to have certain big challenges; after all the figures man has made since cave painting can I add anything new?

I read somewhere that you avoid a didactic approach to your image-making. Could you explain why that’s important to you?

I think it’s tremendously difficult to do well. I want to show people instead of tell people. I prefer Goya to Jenny Holzer.

How does the audience figure into this new work? Are you still interested in an audience interpreting your pieces as they will, or do you expect that your source imagery will create a narrative for them?

The narratives are still open with this series, the viewer can interpret the works in many different ways. I think the variety of readings possible and the contrast between possible meanings in the same work is what makes it interesting. For example, the soldier wearing a gutted pig can be either a brutal monster capable of barbaric acts or an unfortunate casualty of flesh in the politics of war.

What’s your view on the state of arts in Canada? How do you respond to the $60 million+ cuts? How does your experience as an artist in Canada compare to your experience as an artist elsewhere in the world?

I’ve been away from Canada for a year and a half now so I am not well versed with what is going on politically.  Large cuts are always unfortunate, but throwing large amounts of poorly directed money is not a good idea either. My hope is that somehow the visual arts in Canada can do what Canadian literature has done around the world. There is no reason why it can’t, we have so many talented people.

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Filminute

Filminute

Filminute, the international one-minute film festival, is returning for its eighth edition from September 1 to 30. It challenges filmmakers from around the world to come up with a brilliant idea they can execute on-screen in exactly 60 seconds. Accessible online, the 25 shortlisted selections are there to be watched and rated by you, with the best netting a People’s Choice award. A jury also decides a prize – which last year went to the UK’s Ant Blades for his comic animation Chop Chop, which showed every second counts when there’s a guillotine beheading scheduled.