China Piled Up, 2014

83 frames of rolled Corten steel, 1524 (l) × 610 (w) × 366 (h) cm, square profile 10 × 10 cm, wall thickness 2 mm, rolling skin treated with linseed oil

The structure and proportions of this work in steel make reference to both Scully’s paintings and his previous works in stone. As a result of the combining of frames of different sizes, the work appears light and supple despite the heavy steel. The starting point for China Piled Up was a sketch, which was further developed using a small model to determine the dimensions for the large work. The eighty-three frames in total were supposed to be produced using square profiles in Corten steel. Since Corten steel is usually only available in plates, the challenge was finding a rolling mill to manufacture the profiles for us as a custom-made product. To give the work a dark black hue resembling Chinese ink, we looked for hot-rolled Corten steel with a particularly dark rolling skin, which we then left untouched in the finishing process. The profiles were welded together untreated and the surface then rubbed with linseed oil afterward. A line of trucks then brought the work to the Himalaya Museum (Shanghai), within whose rooms ten people then assembled it using only lightweight tools and lots of manpower into China Piled Up within a single night. It was subsequently exhibited at the CAFA (Central Academy of Fine Arts) in Beijing.