A Re­vi­sion­ing of Con­struc­tion Waste

Beijing (English) - - CONTENTS - Trans­lated by Zhang Qi­uyue Edited by Mark Zuiderveld Pho­tos by Ma Ke

Twenty-four sculp­tures made from low- car­bon ma­te­ri­als were dis­played at the Bei­jing Low- car­bon Sculp­ture Gar­den in Chang­ping Dis­trict, shed­ding in­spi­ra­tion for reusing con­struc­tion waste.

Ha­batun is a small vil­lage in Machikou Town, Chang­ping Dis­trict. In Oc­to­ber, Bei­jing First Low- car­bon Sculp­ture Camp, themed “low- car­bon, ecol­ogy, life and love,” was held in the vil­lage, at­tract­ing na­tion­wide at­ten­tion. The event dis­played low- car­bon sculpt­ing works by 12 artists.

Zhang Baogui, chair­man of the Pub­lic Art Com­mit­tee of China-asia Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Association and ini­tia­tor of event, said, “Low-car­bon Sculp­ture Camp is a new at­tempt to drive cul­tural in­no­va­tion and en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion. Sculp­tures themed by en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion with con­struc­tion waste as our raw ma­te­ri­als to pro­mote en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion and low car­bon con­cep­tions.”

What is the camp about? Is it pos­si­ble to morph con­struc­tion waste into use­ful re­sources? Baogui Stone Art Tech­nol­ogy Com­pany Lim­ited in the vil­lage has the an­swers.

Af­ter start­ing work for the com­pany, what un­folds is an en­tire range of sculp­tures in var­i­ous shapes placed in a com­modi­ous and tidy court­yard. Eb­ter­ing the of­fice building, one is greeted with a daz­zling ar­ray of sculp­tures hung on the wall or laid on the ground. Its raw ma­te­ri­als in­clude mar­ble, bronze, white mar­ble and cast­ing cop­per. Zhang Baogui is the pres­i­dent of Baogui Stone Art Tech­nol­ogy Co., Ltd. He en­cour­aged artists to cre­ate a new free­hand style.” He con­sid­ers that con­struc­tion waste is a kind of re­source, but in the wrong place. Once utilised in the right way, use­less waste would be changed into use­ful re­sources.

‘Low-car­bon Sculp­tures’

For years, Zhang Baogui has been com­mit­ted to R&D and ap­ply­ing low-car­bon ma­te­ri­als in con­struc­tion. He now in­fuses this low-car­bon en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cep­tion into sculp­ture and or­gan­ises the Bei­jing First Low-car­bon Sculp­ture Cre­ation Camp with its pi­o­neer­ing work and en­deav­ors. In re­sponse to the low­car­bon sculp­ture camp, Zhang has built a 2.67-hectare Bei­jing Low-car­bon Sculp­ture Gar­den in­side the com­pany.

On the gar­den's lawn, 24 ex­quis­ite sculp­tures cre­ated by 12 sculp­tors are dis­played. These works are all made from low­car­bon and en­vi­ron­men­tal ma­te­ri­als, which dis­tin­guishes from other sculp­tures.

The ma­te­rial uses the most tra­di­tional cement as an adhesive to func­tion as a glue. Smashed solid con­struc­tion waste like muck, spoil, re­jected ma­te­rial and left­over mud is qual­i­fied for fill­ing ag­gre­gate. With a great deal of smashed con­struc­tion waste like stone pow­der and added stone bal­last, this new ma­te­rial mixed by cement and con­struc­tion waste nat­u­rally re­stricts shrink­age stress. Sculp­tures made from them don't crack eas­ily.

Mak­ing Pro­ce­dures

Walk­ing across the gar­den, op­er­a­tion work­shops put up by steel frames and loud roars of ma­chines can be seen and heard. Eye­sight gets blinded by mist. This misty sub­stance that per­vades the air is cre­ated when ma­chines in­cise and pol­ish low­car­bon ma­te­ri­als.

A vast stretch of white with three­d­i­men­sional and curved con­fig­u­ra­tion and wav­ing in­ter­nal tex­ture glides into view.

Its ex­ter­nal ap­pear­ance looks like a stone and also like gyp­sum, while its gray in­ter­nal con­tent looks more like cement. This is the un­com­pleted work of a young artist.

Artist Zhao Yong grad­u­ated from Xi'an Academy of Fine Arts and he has his own views on the Low-car­bon Sculp­ture Camp. His sculp­ture is 2.7 me­tres high, de­pict­ing of a cat in a win­dowsill where two perched spar­rows are sculpted on its belly. This work is in­spired by a com­mon scene of cats prey­ing on spar­rows. Zhao said, “This low-car­bon ma­te­rial can be sculpted into large works due to its prop­erty. I hope to see what my cat's bulk looks like when it's dis­played on the grass. This would ex­cite any artist.”

Sculp­tors connect them­selves with the theme of this camp, which is only the first step of cre­ation. Mak­ing 3D drafts also bor­ders on a form of low-car­bon en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion. Or­gan­is­ers will col­lect the 3D data of se­lected works from artists for 3D print­ing af­ter scan­ning them one by one. Then artists need to com­mu­ni­cate with the Baogui Stone Art Tech­nol­ogy Co., Ltd. to de­cide what ex­ter­nal ef­fect their works will em­body and cor­re­spond­ing creative ways. “By this time, we lis­ten to Zhang's sug­ges­tions, be­cause he's an ex­pert on ‘low-car­bon ma­te­rial' with a wealth of knowl­edge. For ex­am­ple, in pur­suit of the ef­fect like white mar­ble, I will seek out his ad­vice on how to re­alise it and which stone bal­last and the spe­cific mix­ture ra­tio are needed. Then, I will have work­ers do­ing more spe­cific work.”

What fol­lows is the scal­ing up of models. In other words, sculp­ture drafts are scaled up and made from foam ma­te­rial dig­i­tally. Dur­ing this stage, artists who par­tic­i­pate in the camp will en­gage in guid­ing and su­per­vis­ing this process to some ex­tent.

What fol­lows is mak­ing sculp­tures from low-car­bon ma­te­ri­als, per­haps the most time­con­sum­ing stage. Ob­vi­ously, Baogui Stone Art Tech­nol­ogy Co., Ltd. is a “tower of strength” at this point. With pro­fes­sional equip­ment and ma­te­ri­als, its work­ers turn dreams into re­al­ity, help artists ob­jec­tify their con­cep­tions and con­vey their orig­i­nal cre­ation con­cep­tion about “low-car­bon, ecol­ogy, life and love.”

Hav­ing got a thor­ough knowl­edge of the colour, grain and tex­ture of ma­te­ri­als needed by artists, work­ers get to work. Rolling over, grout­ing, cast­ing, and then smash­ing the mould...these pro­ce­dures are done for sur­face pro­cess­ing.

Work­shops of the plant are filled with var­i­ous raw ma­te­ri­als in­clud­ing all kinds of aux­il­iary in­gre­di­ents in ad­di­tion to “con­struc­tion waste.” These in­gre­di­ents, ei­ther in buck­ets or bags, are used to meet dif­fer­ent de­mands with dif­fer­ent mix­ture ra­tios.

It stands a chance that these low-car­bon ma­te­ri­als are taken for gen­uine ones. The more the jour­nal­ist sees, the more sur­prised he or she is. How a di­verse va­ri­ety of forms these “low­car­bon ma­te­ri­als” can be taken on! Blue­stone, red sand­stone, white mar­ble, cast­ing cooper, bronze, you name it. Just a walk around these work­shops opens a world of sculp­ture ma­te­ri­als be­fore the naked eye. “This ma­te­rial abounds in pos­si­bil­i­ties in tak­ing on forms,” artists said. How­ever, they are not gen­uine, but made from new-type mix­ture ma­te­ri­als with low-car­bon and en­vi­ron­men­tal “con­struc­tion waste” as the raw ma­te­ri­als. These ma­te­ri­als can present many en­chant­ing tex­tures.

Added to these dis­tinc­tive tex­tures, the sculp­ture ma­te­ri­als also dif­fer from one an­other in colour and grain, which en­dows them with a strong ex­pres­sive force.

Crim­son, cyan, dark red­dish pur­ple, bronze, jade white...these dif­fer­ent grains, pat­terns and lines of chips of bare stone bal­last, stone pow­der and con­struc­tion waste present a gen­uine, plain, nat­u­ral and un­ex­pect­edly unique charm. Most im­por­tantly, these ma­te­ri­als are not only pol­lu­tion-free but also made from low-car­bon and en­vi­ron­men­tal en­ergy-sav­ing ma­te­ri­als. This method not only re­duces de­pen­dence on sculp­tures on gen­uine ma­te­ri­als, but also helps to “change use­less waste into use­ful raw ma­te­ri­als” and bet­ter re­alise en­ergy con­ser­va­tion and emis­sion re­duc­tions. Art serves as a car­rier, which speaks vol­ume for their de­ter­mi­na­tion to prac­tise a low-car­bon and en­vi­ron­ment-friendly ecol­ogy civ­i­liza­tion con­struc­tion in a bid to build a green Bei­jing.

Pi­o­neer­ing Artists

The start of sur­face pro­cess­ing in­di­cates that cre­at­ing sculp­tures has en­tered the fi­nal stage of later artis­tic pro­cess­ing.

“With­out thor­ough knowl­edge of this ma­te­rial and its prop­erty, we need to main­tain con­stant com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the plant and its work­ers.” While it is in­evitable for artists to go to work­shops to fa­mil­iarise them­selves with ev­ery creative pro­ce­dure and pro­duc­tion link. “There is still a long break-in pe­riod for this new-type of ma­te­ri­als and artis­tic ex­pres­sion.” When gain­ing new-type ma­te­ri­als, artists, need­less to say, would work on them per­son­ally, such as grind­ing, pol­ish­ing, and par­tic­u­larly art pro­cess­ing later on. Many ex­quis­ite sculp­ture and pro­cess­ing work need them to be checked. It would de­pend more on their in­tu­ition, acu­men and per­se­ver­ance.

Zhou Jian­hong from Sichuan Uni­ver­sity of Me­dia and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions is a post­grad­u­ate of Zhu Shangxi, a pro­fes­sor of the Ur­ban De­sign School of China Cen­tral Academy of Fine Arts. As an­other pro­ducer of this low­car­bon sculp­ture camp, Mr. Zhou, who re­cently par­tic­i­pated in a Rus­sian sculp­ture camp, has rushed to the Bei­jing low-car­bon sculp­ture camp. His sculp­ture work en­ti­tled “Light Mu­sic,” has com­pleted rolling over and is in the sur­face pro­cess­ing stage. Zhou stands on his 3.8-me­tre­high work in a roomy space and bends him­self to metic­u­lously pol­ish­ing his work with a grind­ing ma­chine in his hands. With nearly per­fect pol­ish­ing by artists, ev­ery straight line, curve and cor­ner fades in lit­tle by lit­tle. The de­tails speak louder for their crafts­man­ship.

In face of this new-type ma­te­ri­als, Yang Jin­huan from Bei­jing Cul­ture Space Sculp­ture In­sti­tute finds him­self at a loss for words. His work “But­ter­fly Lovers” is a to­ken of faith­ful love. In this work, he sculpted a pair of lovers snug­gling to­gether and soar­ing up, both with wings. a po­etic charm per­me­ates its physique, lines, lights and shad­ows. How­ever, Yang is stumped when he cre­ated this about 6-me­tre-high sculp­ture. “This ma­te­rial is light yet frag­ile with­out strong duc­til­ity. My work might be blown away by strong winds.” It's seem­ingly no easy thing to make a 3.5-me­tre­high themed sculp­ture that stands firm. “Ei­ther piv­ots or steel bars can re­in­force it. Safety is­sue en­dures care­less­ness to the least ex­tent.” Zhang has high ex­pec­ta­tions of this work with its unique de­sign. As this work is made by his new-type low-car­bon ma­te­rial, he also pays great at­ten­tion to its safety and preser­va­tion

abil­ity which mat­ter a lot to buy­ers. Yang speaks his mind and hopes to cre­ate more works ac­cord­ing to the prop­erty of this new­type ma­te­rial.

“By dint of the grain and colour of our works, joints can be avoided.” As new things keep com­ing up, it is in­evitable to meet new prob­lems. It fares like­wise when artists make sculp­ture works from con­struc­tion waste, dur­ing which they also ben­e­fit a lot.

Ex­quis­ite sculp­tures stand as a trib­ute to the su­perb crafts­man­ship of these artists and elicit a unique charm of tran­quil­ity, ex­cite­ment, sweet­ness, mag­nif­i­cence, solem­nity, nos­tal­gia, philo­soph­i­cal ap­proach, and pas­sion.

Each par­tic­i­pat­ing artist cre­ated two works, which in­clude “Di­a­logue,” “Hou” (“pro­found­ness”), “Ring of Life,” “Life and Noth­ing­ness,” and “Cloud Im­pres­sion.” The height of sculp­ture works made from con­crete and low-car­bon en­vi­ron­men­tal ma­te­ri­als is lim­ited be­tween three me­tres and six me­tres with their width no longer than six me­tres. These works are mainly in lump, lin­ear and com­bined forms and can adopt ab­stract, con­crete and other styles with in­no­va­tion and diver­si­fi­ca­tion. All works of this low-car­bon sculp­ture camp take on a di­ver­si­fied uni­fi­ca­tion.

Un­par­al­leled Gut

In this way, con­struc­tion waste com­monly seen in daily life is more than use­less. By dint of its unique strength, it, no longer be­ing waste, ra­di­ates a mag­i­cal charm when artists cre­ate sculp­tures from it. “Chang­ing con­struc­tion waste into low-car­bon ma­te­ri­als re­duces de­pen­dence of sculp­ture works on gen­uine ma­te­ri­als. Dur­ing the process, art serves as a car­rier, which speaks vol­umes for artists de­ter­mined to prac­tise low­car­bon ideas.”

Born in 1950 in Bei­jing, Zhang Baogui later went to live and work in pro­duc­tion teams in Shanxi Prov­ince and re­turned to Bei­jing in 1987. Since then, he has im­mersed him­self in re­search and cre­ation of stone art. The span of 30 years has passed in a flash and Zhang, the man with ro­man­tic soul and artis­tic dreams in the eyes of other artists, has gained strik­ing achieve­ments along the way. As the fruit of Zhang's painstak­ing labour over the past sev­eral years, low-car­bon ma­te­ri­als to­gether with pro­duc­tion meth­ods of stone art is the owner of sev­eral na­tional patents and widely used in con­struc­tions. Zhang Baogui and his team have cre­ated nearly 1,000 pieces of works for hun­dreds of famous projects, in­clud­ing those with dropped ceil­ings for the Na­tional Mu­seum of China, Diaoyu­tai State Guest­house, Bei­jing In­ter­na­tional Con­ven­tion Cen­ter and the mu­sic hall of Na­tional Cen­tre for the Per­form­ing Arts.

Such con­struc­tion projects en­able Zhang to “eat his corn in the blade,” and in­vest­ing in art, ad­vo­cat­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion and most im­por­tantly, in­vest in the Low­Car­bon Sculp­ture Camp. Ac­cord­ing to him, this Low-car­bon Sculp­ture Camp pro­vides an op­por­tu­nity for artists to cre­ate and re­search the lan­guage of sculp­ture un­der the prin­ci­ple of low-car­bon. Through this camp, they can play to the fullest ex­tent their sub­jec­tive ini­tia­tive, imag­i­na­tion and cre­ativ­ity. Aca­demic sem­i­nars on sculp­tures with low-car­bon ma­te­ri­als as well as classes for re­search­ing and study­ing such sculp­tures will be held dur­ing the first “Low-car­bon Sculp­ture Camp,” where artists ex­per­i­ment to ex­plore ex­pres­sion of low-car­bon lan­guage in sculp­tures. When demon­strat­ing the con­cept of sculp­tures, artists will also rep­re­sent es­sen­tial fea­tures of the lan­guage of low-car­bon ma­te­ri­als. The ex­pe­ri­ence and achieve­ments gained in this process will in­spire the com­ing of “the new era of low-car­bon ma­te­ri­als.” Therein lies its aca­demic value.

Ac­cord­ing to Zhu Shangxi, low car­bon marks a kind of life­style as well as re­spon­si­bil­ity for en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion and sus­tain­able devel­op­ment. As for artists, the con­cept of low car­bon adopts a kind of at­ti­tude for art. Un­doubt­edly, the first Low-car­bon Sculp­ture Camp is of strik­ing sig­nif­i­cance since it takes ini­tia­tive to ap­ply low-car­bon ma­te­ri­als in sculp­tures and thus starts a new era of do­ing so.

Works of this Low-car­bon Sculp­ture Camp will meet with the pub­lic in Bei­jing and around China in this fruit­ful au­tumn Oc­to­ber. Start­ing from here, we will move head­strong de­ter­mi­na­tion. In suc­ces­sion with the first camp, we are poised to hold other camps, bring­ing them to the whole coun­try and coun­tries out­side the bor­der. Zhang Baogui said with con­fi­dence, long­ing for a brighter fu­ture.

A low-car­bon life­style marks the gen­eral trend of the day. In 2017, 12 sculp­tors made sculp­tures with in­dus­trial waste and low­car­bon ma­te­ri­als in a small vil­lage of Bei­jing. This feat brings us fore­see­able prospects.

Var­i­ous sculp­tures made from con­struc­tion waste

An artist con­cen­trates on sculpt­ing.

Bei­jing Low-car­bon Sculp­ture Gar­den

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