Medium: cast bronze
Dimension: dimensions variable
In a Chinese legend, children seek out this magical mushroom for their loved ones, as it promises eternal life to those who ingests it. Separated from her own family, the work offers a poignant reminder of the loss felt by immigrants living apart from their loved ones.
I bought a dozen lingzhi mushrooms and had them cast into bronze. Finished with a turquoise patina, the textures on the mushrooms are enhanced, resembling tree rings. These bronze mushrooms also mimic the bronze vessels and artifacts found in museums. The sculptures feature deep grooves in the face of each mushroom, the form of which harkens to water ripples or the growth rings of trees. These indelible marks show a sense of aging and the passage of time, a fossilization of experience. I arranged them onto the wall in the way that bracket mushrooms would grow in steps in nature. Against the white wall, these hoary objects appear to float in space. Bronze is often associated with monuments, images of power, or eternity and creates tension with lingzhi's delicate nature and mythology.
As an organism, lingzhi has a fragile and ephemeral life. However, the ancient Chinese collected lingzhi, and many of them have kept well for hundreds of years like those in the Forbidden City. It has more longevity than we usually would think; while, bronzes often get melt down and recycled. They are actually less lasting than we usually assume. I found this dichotomous nature of lingzhi very interesting.