Le Shan, 2014

Bronze, with black patina, partially electrolytically silver-plated, internal structure of chromium steel, stone 503 × 304 × 149 cm, plinth 320 cm diameter, 60 cm high

The art of contemplating stones has a long tradition in China, starting during the Song dynasty. The fine-grained, textured stones formed by erosion, are often dug up by farmers from the loess-containing ground above all in the northwestern Lingbi region of China, and assessed in value based on various criteria. The bizarre stones already inspired poets in China to create fantastical stories in ancient times, while Chinese scholars and officials created a genre with its own aesthetic for them. The “scholars’ stones” are still sought-after collectors’ items today and are also exhibited in Western museums.

The artist Zeng Fanzhi also has a collection of scholars’ stones. From them, he selected one small stone as a model, which was then scanned by the Kunstgiesserei and digitally modeled and enlarged in cooperation with the artist by means of data processing. We milled a multi-part positive in Styrofoam, which was then polished by hand several times. This was then molded in sand and cast in bronze. The focus in this work is the complex black and silver patination. After being completed, the stone was mounted on a plinth that was also cast and installed in the lobby of the newly built Nuo Hotel in Beijing.