Brendan Lee Tang and His Wonderland
Irish artist Brendan Lee Tang makes a bold mix of Asian ceramic culture, western pop icons, blinding colors, manga aesthetics, kitsch references and, with a huge amount of craziness and creativity. Brendan Tang was born in Dublin, Ireland, of Trinidadian parents and is a naturalized citizen of Canada.
For his exuberant creations he is deeply inspired by the idea of transformation and inter-cultural exchanges and interpretations. “I’m kind of playing with looking at how history is really malleable and how it can really shift. We almost think that history is this kind of static story that’s unchanging, but it’s not.” says Brendan.
And it’s true that static is not a word that you would use in order to describe his creations. On the contrary, Tang’s work leave you quite overwhelmed, without being sure what exactly is that you are looking at but still finding it totally attractive.
In his Manga Ormolu series Tang enters the dialogue on contemporary culture, technology and globalization through a fabricated relationship between ceramic tradition (using the form of Chinese Ming dynasty vessels) and techno-Pop Art.
The futuristic update of the Ming vessels in this series recalls 18th century French gilded ormolu, where historic Chinese vessels were transformed into curiosity pieces for aristocrats. But here, robotic prosthetics inspired by anime and manga subvert elitism with the accessibility of popular culture.
On the other hand, the subject matter of his Through the Gilded Looking Glass series spans self-identity, power relationships, citizen apathy, engagement and consumerism. While seemingly diverse, these works are thematically unified.
He points out: “Visually, the exorbitant decoration is common to the series. Conceptually, the works demonstrate tension between beauty, and its close proximity to the un-beautiful. The vessels, then, mirror our everyday lives and our inability to shut out the uncomfortable and tragic elements of life – no amount of decoration can mask this. Through the Gilded Looking Glass is an ornamented reflection of human existence”.
For more information please go to the artist’s website brendantang.com/