Because of the rounded shape of gourds, it was often given auspicious connotations in ancient China, and due to its hard material, neutral colour, ease of preservation and natural properties of form, it was often made into wine vessels, storage jars, buoys, agricultural tools and musical instruments. In modern China, its function was gradually replaced by that of an industrial product, retaining only its social properties. As a result, gourds that did not have an ornamental value were considered by gourd growers to be 'inferior gourds' and were disposed of in large quantities each year as scrap, or sent to medical institutions to be used as storage vessels for medicines. The fate of the gourd varies greatly between cultural contexts, from the African use of the gourd as a bar koto to the Hawaiian use of the gourd for food, medicine, art and even the development of entire rituals around the cultivation of the gourd patch, accompanied by the chanting of hula.
In HULU Ipū, MMR uses the "inferior gourd" as an entry point for cultural tracing, attempting to move away from the usual "anthropocentric" perspective. In this work, we have preserved the almost invisible natural traces of the gourd itself, chosen the "inferior gourd" with the "almost perfect" curvature of its side waist, so that the gourd can quietly sneak into human society and become a "HULU", reminding mankind that the gourd itself has a life force. This series use the more productive gourd as the subject of this study, looking at the relationship between the gourd as a "plant" and "industrial product".
HULU Ipū is treated with a wood perservation process that creates a leather-like texture and texture, with the surface colour changing over time, and is joined by a bamboo weaving process. This sophisticated process is inspired by the 'bamboo filigree button porcelain' and has similarities in the traditional packaging of ceramics in Jingdezhen. The rattan can be organically fitted to the irregular gourd, not only for structural support, but the stitching details emphasise the gourd's "rhythmical breathing" unlike that of wood. The rattan itself is not perfectly straight, as the weft often controls the overall form of the weave, and the overall installation takes on a paradoxical tension while respecting the design principles of the material.
PRODUCTIVE DATE: 2022