Rice Situation

Hou Lien-Chin


Production date

Object Detail

marble, wooden table
94 x 90 x 92 cm
'Rice Situation' reflects a particularly difficult time in the artist’s life, when he faced financial difficulties and, he says, was confronted each and every day by the question of how to survive. His studio in Taipei was surrounded by the studios and workshops of other artists and craftspeople, and he became interested in expanding his techniques to include found objects and mixed media. A white bowl on a wooden table is piled high with rice and sauce, next to a pair of chopsticks and a half-collapsed empty food carton with a few stray rice grains in the bottom, made of marble carved to resemble the cheapest polystyrene packaging. The bowl, the rice and the chopsticks are marble, too. It’s a witty riff on the convention of the still life – a representation of mass-produced plenty. Technically assured and refined, with the fine details of rice grains hand-carved, glittering slightly, the work is a highly realist representation – a departure for an artist more accustomed to minimalist abstraction. Yet, with the colour of this mundane meal removed, the bleached white, almost translucent bowl and its inedible contents evokes a memorial sculpture or a tombstone. The traditional Taiwanese timber table was selected because of its associations with time, and history. For Hou Lien-Chin, the work is a ‘conversation’ between the rich and those who are so poor they cannot afford to buy food.
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