This and That, Group Exhibition, 2006
Shenghua Art Centre, Nanjing, Jaingsu Province, China
This exhibition was the culmination of a two month residency at the Shenghua Art Centre in Nanjing, China.
The work in this exhibition investigated issues of recycling and trade and was made from various paper products. It took the form of a large scale cardboard installation (3.5m high) and two smaller map pieces made from tea bags and cartography rice paper. Stockwell's investigation led to sourcing 3 tons of cardboard boxes from recycling centres. The cavernous warehouse space invited a monumental piece and the cardboard provided the answer, Layering and interweaving the flattened boxes for strength and stability the tower became a solid rock like form. Referring to both the layered history of China and its present state of flux and change, the used boxes were decaying and grimy, yet beautiful at the same time. The form looked solid but on closer inspection was mutable and fragile, tactile, irregular and punctuated with colour. The piece called 'Paper, Glue, Paper' is a monolith to the humble cardboard box, highlighting the importance of the everyday and the ordinary, inviting the viewer to question the material by elevating it to a position of monumental beauty. At the end of the exhibition the boxes were sold back to the local paper recycling centre for a profit! The two small map pieces, 'All the Tea in China' and 'China Stack' formed a contrast to the monumentality of 'Paper, Glue, Paper'. 'China Stack' consisted of layers of fragile Chinese Calligraphy Rice Paper (the type used in schools to learn to write Chinese calligraphy characters) cut into a map of China. 'All the Tea in China', a stitched tea bag map of China makes reference to the history of the tea trade between Britain and China, a trade that Britain profited from at China's expense. The residency was a cultural exchange where Susan worked closely with Chinese artists at Shenghua and shared ideas and experiences. Experiences here led her to work in Taiwan two years later.