This piece was also created in the year 2020 when weddings, funerals, and important gatherings of all sorts became absent from our lives, and the resulting work acts as a sort of stand-in homage to both. Despite the inability to collectively celebrate and mourn, love and death continued ticking on...
送囍鐘/Happy Superstition Clock
By bringing together two opposing symbols in Chinese culture, this piece ironically examines concepts of tradition, taboo, and the weight that we give as a culture to superstition and symbolism.
“囍” is the Chinese character for “double happiness”, which is assembled here out of black walnut and white ash wood. The 囍 character is often used as a decorative motif especially in wedding ceremonies to wish boundless joy to a newlywed couple. Consequently, Chinese wedding gifts of all kinds frequently include this motif as well. In contrast, giving a clock as a gift is considered extremely taboo due to the phrase “送鐘/gifting a clock” sharing the same phonetic pronunciation as another phrase, “送終/sending one off” which is a common expression for attending someone’s funeral. As a result, gifting a clock is interpreted almost as a sort of death wish to the receiver.
Homophones, puns, and wordplay in the Chinese language are a significant aspect of cultural customs and I hope to share this in a contemporary way without taking superstition too seriously.