The hybrid sculptures of Brendan Lee Tang

published in: Interviews, Art By Apostolos Mitsios, 08 December 2009

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image Courtesy of Brendan Lee Tang

We are proud to introduce you the fanTANGstic cocktail of Irish artist Brendan Lee Tang: in a glass pour some generous doses of Asian ceramic culture, western pop icons, blinding colors, manga aesthetics, kitsch references and, last but not least, a huge amount of craziness and creativity and you will finally enter Brendan’s magical world. Brendan Tang was born in Dublin, Ireland, of Trinidadian parents and is a naturalized citizen of Canada. 

image Courtesy of Brendan Lee Tang

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. Let’s take a closer look.

image Courtesy of Brendan Lee Tang

image Courtesy of Brendan Lee Tang

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.

image Courtesy of Brendan Lee Tang

image Courtesy of Brendan Lee Tang

While Manga Ormolu offers multiple points of entry into a sociocultural dialogue, manga, by nature, doesn’t take itself too seriously. As Brendan points out, the futuristic ornamentation can be excessive, self-aggrandizing, even ridiculous. He says about it: “This is a fitting reflection of our human need to envision and translate fantastic ideas into reality; in fact, striving for transcendence is a unifying feature of human cultural history. This characteristic is reflected in the unassuming, yet utterly transformable material of clay. Manga Ormolu, through content, form and material, vividly demonstrates the conflicting and complementary forces that shape our perceptions of Ourselves and the Other. By employing satire, I create a point of access.

image Courtesy of Brendan Lee Tang

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”. 

image Courtesy of Brendan Lee Tang

image Courtesy of Brendan Lee Tang

We at Yatzer, always willing to look behind any kind of mirror in order to find a personal truth, have a great faith in Brendan’s work and we really hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we did.

image Courtesy of Brendan Lee Tang

image Courtesy of Brendan Lee Tang

Current and future exhibitions:
Nov 12, 2009 - Dec 12, 2009 : Sugar Bombs: Diyan Achjadi and Brendan Tang.  MAI Gallery. Montreal, QC.
Dec 10, 2009 - Feb 21, 2010 : Nothing To Declare: Recent Sculpture From Canada, The Power Plant Gallery, Toronto, ON

image Courtesy of Brendan Lee Tang

sources:

Brendan Lee Tang

  • friend
    georgios mathioudakis | 2009-12-08 16:17:25

    amazing++++++++++++++++++++!!!!!!!!!!!

  • friend
    Nuno Rafael RelvΓ£o | 2009-12-08 22:11:23

    Tradition/Technology - AWESOME!

  • friend
    ben | 2009-12-09 02:31:51

    WOW

  • friend
    J. Jivanian | 2009-12-09 13:16:08

    NO COMMENT!!!!!!!!

  • friend
    jaymee | 2009-12-20 14:04:15

    this is one of the most wicked fusion of traditional art!

  • friend
    niki r | 2010-01-10 18:19:32

    ... you are innovative and you just inspired me to get reeeeeaaaaaaalllll creative with some of my ceramics! thank you!

  • friend
    candles | 2010-01-13 11:22:39

    just great! i love all of their innovations.

  • friend
    Security Systems | 2010-02-03 09:56:27

    These sculptures signify how art and various other cultures acn be mixed to give a beautiful masterpiece.It is simply astounding. I dont have words to describe it. At first it seemed like a complicated ceramic to me. But when i took a closer look I found that there is more to it than just that! What i find most attractive is the intercultural exchanges and interpretations taken by Brendan Lee Tang.Even Brendan Lee Tang thrived in different cultures. Perhaps that is why he is so keen to introduce other cultures into his art. I am a person who really enjoys this kind of artwork and i really do believe to see more from Brendan Lee Tang in the future.

  • friend
    Taiwan Personals | 2010-05-04 08:29:04

    Wow, what are these things? Some of them look like they are half vacuum cleaner - but I can't really tell for sure. Yes, I know they're "hybrid sculptures". I'm trying to figure out what he used though.

  • friend
    Ngeres | 2010-08-26 14:14:58

    I love sculptures very much even don't understand very much about art. Where do you got the inspire for this hybrid sculptures? Sometimes I see they are mixed between octopus and crab. I know Iam wrong but very interesting!

  • friend
    Vedette | 2012-05-23 20:38:20

    Whatever these are, they sure are amazing! Mixture of chinese porcelain and some alien robotic technology, genius!

  • friend
    Kaelan | 2013-07-06 19:09:25

    These are very interesting pieces of art, but personally I think these sculptures would be way cooler if they were electronic devices, I pictured most of them being a set of speakers. This is just some food for thought, I think people would love to have something like this in their home that is useful for everyday.

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