Zhipeng Tan’s practice, since graduating from the China Academy of Art, has been focused on the ancient technique of lost-wax casting. This ancient foundry process has created an intersection between Tan’s interest in heritage casting techniques and organic forms.
The forms designed by Tan vary from being environmental (water drops, tree roots) to being figurative (spinal cords, pelvic structures). The Lily collection brings together the botanical and human motifs most explicitly. The tension between the two references cause the works to become abstracted and take on a slightly surreal quality, whilst maintaining functionality.
The 33 Step chair is the most visceral work to come of out Tan’s studio. There are 33 vertebrae in a human spine, hence the name for this chair that inverts the body and places the cervical vertebrae on the floor and the pelvis as the seat.
The pelvis seat motivates us to think about this central part of the human skeletal structure; the fulcrum between the spine and the legs, the ‘basket’ of female reproductive organs; the space we all pass through. The gold colour of the chair makes it appear somewhere between a classical sculpture, a Rorschach Test, and a functional piece of furniture. What could it be celebrating; immaculate conception – the unimpeachable arrival? The myth is common to many cultures. In China there is Houji and Laozi. Our favourite is Sarah, who at age 90 was touched by the Old Testament god, as if her womb was a microwave oven, and hey presto – baby Isaac popped out.
Tan’s practice continues to focus on the intersection between the craft of lost-wax casting and the creation of organic forms, at once thought provoking and beautiful.
Gallery All is the commissioning gallery of Tan Zhipeng’s edition works.