In an archaeological investigation of Eastern Zhou dynasty, archaeologists found 1.8m x 0.8m well-conserved twill-weaved bamboo strips processed with carbonized pest termite treatment which can be dated more than 2500 years ago. This is the first known bamboo craft; while after 2500 years, the twill weaving is much the same as the abovementioned object.
Bamboo is a material of time and living life. It contains the speed of time in its fibers; while what we create are objects succeeded with time. In functions of modern objects, bamboo is considered as a fast and ephemeral material. However, according to modern living manners, this material can be interpreted in various perspectives since the constantly changing mindset of people, and it will become a part of the culture. Do we have to consider what imprint of our time are we able to leave to our offspring.
In the earlier age, bamboo craft used to achieve the needs in agriculture, fishery, animal husbandry, and hunting; it also played the important role as our daily commodities. In industrial revolution time, craft-based production has been facing the crisis of being supplanted by mass machine production. While under the rational thinking of Bauhaus style, it was influenced by the modern approach of fabrication. During war time, it played the role of munitions when material ran out. With the trend of international trading of Capitalism, it was added with a touch of exoticness. More recently, the prosperity in economy brings bamboo craft up to a higher level from Pragmatism to the art of delicate bamboo weaving and carving… Since the increasing consciousness of ecology and environment preservation, many counties start to explore the possibility of applying bamboo and wood onto various installation and architecture. As you may see, bamboo craft has a wide variety of presentation according to different times and cultural context.
Nowadays, there are abundant worldwide resources of relating organizations, workshops, creation and presentation. Those artisans and artists have been systematically analyzing, applying, cultivating bamboo as a work material; moreover, the researches, implementation and promotion of new methods of processing are further carried out. In Taiwan, National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute holds appraisals for excellent handcrafts, expecting to integrate the sense of beauty into our daily lives. Furthermore, bamboo artisans and instructors in designs lead college students to participate in the project “New Fun in Craft,” demonstrating the future possibility of creation through the synergy of bamboo crafting and design. It seems that we can almost tell these young activists in contemporary craft movement humbly succeed those delicate skills of bamboo-crafting experts, and further mix rational thinking of contemporary minimal design and experimentation of integrating different material in bamboo craft. Meanwhile, the possibility of mass production is also taken into account by the young creators who propose a new modern living style for the public with the material of bamboo.
While the art makers try to communicate with bamboo with their body, mind and the muscles of hands, creating works with the sense of philosophy and spirit, and presenting an alternative spiritual value of contemporary bamboo craft. Thus, the context of bamboo’s new contemporary craft movement is gradually formed.
In this bamboo craft exhibition, we aim to find the bamboo objects which are able to present: fiber-based aesthetics at the spiritual level, product and structure characteristics of being quantified, and the experimentation in de/reconstructure and mixing media. In the creation of modern bamboo craft, they gradually change the meaning of bamboo as a material. At last, a quote from Jean Baudrillard may raise the curtain of the show: “All the left is beautiful, since it escaped from the catastrophe of time, and becoming a mark of previous life! (That mark is the history of future).”