The Arts & Culture blog of The Wall Street Journal recently featured a piece about frequent Penland instructor, former trustee and resident artist Christina Shmigel, whose sculptural installation, “A Foreigner’s Cabinet of Chinese Curiosities,” will be on display beginning January 21st at the Bruno David Gallery in Saint Louis, Missouri. Living in Shanghai since 2004, Christina has assembled an artful collection of objects she will forever associate with her time in China. The article discusses her process and inspirations for creating the work, and includes a slide show of treasures from the cabinet. Check it out:
In Shanghai, A Curious Cabinet
Sometimes what a visitor remembers best about China isn’t the Great Wall or the Palace of Heavenly Purity in the the Forbidden City, but something mundane, such as a politically incorrect toothpaste tube.
Enter American artist Christina Shmigel, who has lived in China since 2004. In her latest work, “A Foreigner’s Cabinet of Chinese Curiosities” Ms. Shmigel captures the everyday things that best portray Shanghai.
The work — which is displayed in an old curio cabinet with 67 drawers — features ordinary household items, some of which Ms. Shmigel thinks will become tomorrow’s castoffs: festival decorations sit next to a drawer of boxes of the White Cat brand of detergent and infamous tubes of Darlie toothpaste, which features an illustrated logo of a black man with white teeth…
“As with so much in Shanghai,” says Ms. Shmigel, “as soon as you form an attachment to something, it’s likely to disappear.”