Beijing-based artist Gao Rong sews life-size replicas of everyday objects from Chinese urban and domestic infrastructure. The embroidered sculptures imitate the routine items our eyes often skip over—graffiti-covered bus signs, broken pay phones, and stacks of dirty dishes.

Gao Rong, Static Eternity, 2012, embroidered cloth, sponge, metal frame, dimensions variable, detail cupboard and thermoses.

Although her works look commonplace, many directly reference scenes or time periods from her life. Level 1/2, Unit 8, Building 5, Hua Jiadi, North Village (2010) is Gao’s imitation of the entrance to a basement apartment she rented while a student in Beijing, and 2012 her installation, The Static Eternity, is a recreation of her grandparent’s tiny rural home.

Gao Rong, What Type Of Car Can A Motor-tricycle Be Exchanged For?, 2013, embroidery, cloth, wooden board, iron shelf, leather, and plastic. Courtesy Eli Klein and the artist

To create her sewn sculptures Gao first stitches the details of rust and other detritus onto fabric. She then wraps the material around sponges or wooden board, and stiffens the work with metal frames. Adding embroidery to her work is a way for Gao to preserve the traditional skills taught to her as a child, while taking them in a more contemporary direction. “My mother and grandmother made beautiful embroidery,” she explains. “It was their hobby. Unfortunately this skill is no longer valued, so it is being lost.”

Gao Rong, 1-2 Level, Unit 8, Bldg 5, Hua Jiadi North Village, 2010, cloth, cotton, sponge, 260 x 166 x 184 cm.

Gao was born in 1986 in Hang Jin Hou Qi, Inner Mongolia. She received her BA from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, China. You can see more of her work, including these new woven hoop frames, on Klein Sun Gallery’s website.

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