We were talking about cemeteries in this blog just a few days ago, discussing the experience of Battle y Roig near Barcelona, mediating between the demands of the natural habitat and the human need to mourn the dead. It is important to find a place conducive to commemoration and mourning. “The missing house», a work of Field Confirmation Studioan interdisciplinary design studio for the creation of public art and research in public space design under the direction of Hu Quachunwas created precisely to meet this need.
The project was proposed during the East Lake International Biennial of Ecological Sculpturean event organized for the first time in 2017 at Wuhan, in Hubei Province, intended to be the world’s first sustainable sculpture exhibition. The second edition of the event, postponed to March 2021, continued its reflection on environmental issues with works questioning the role that new technologies and ecological materials can play in making the world more sustainable; the organizing committee invited Chinese and international artists to present works in the city’s cemetery, Wuhan Shimenfeng Memorial Park.
“The missing houseis a work depicting an ivy-covered house, in which the space is formed by the vines, recalling the vanished living space in a clear reference to people and things from the past. The team chose a simple, archetypal house shape like the sketch of a child’s house, to which the sprawling creeper patterns introduce more sophistication.
It was about using climbing plants to give the impression of a missing house. To achieve this, the designers created a 1:10 scale miniature cardboard version of the house, then drew ivy on top of it to see how the plants would grow.
This way, the designers could also control the density and size of the vines, as well as the connections that practically form the walls of the structure. The designers report that “The sketching process was the most sentimental and exciting part of the creation and brought a distinctive characteristic of craftsmanship and painting to the work.”
Hu Quachun used Corten steel to build the sculpture, treated with a laser cutting process. There are two reasons for this choice. The first is the color change: in rust, the Corten steel turns purple, a color that perfectly expresses the consistency of climbing plants. The second is the fact that “The Vanished House” is a sculpture that people can use, i.e. walk in and spend time inside; it therefore takes a certain force to form a light-permeable space without relying on other structural forms. As Hu Quanchun comments: “The two centimeter thick Corten steel plates provide the structural strength necessary for the wall to support itself. Over time, the color of Corten steel plates will become darker with the sun and rain, and the intention of this work will become more and more important.
The construction of “The Vanished House” was made possible by laser cut and required meticulous manual conversion of scanned files into vector file mode, available for laser engraving, producing an inviting commemorative space.
Project: Hu Quanchun – Field Confirmation Studio
Location: Wuhan, China
Images: Jin Weiqi