‘Actually I am no different from a silkworm, we are equals.’
Born 1945, Shanghai. Lives and works in Zhejiang Province.
Liang Shaoji studied soft sculpture from the influential Bulgarian teacher and textile artist, Maryn Varbanov, at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou. Liang has been at the forefront of interdisciplinary creation, straddling art and biology, installation and sculpture, new media and textile art. His chosen medium is the silkworm and its life cycle; he uses their silken webs as wrappings, to render ordinary things into mysterious shrouded forms. Liang Shaoji has lived on Tiantai Mountain in Zhejiang Province for more than 25 years. ‘Tiantai’ means ‘heavenly terrace’: the mountain has been home to Daoist and Buddhist teachers and their temples since ancient times. Since moving to the mountain Liang’s work has focused on the interconnectedness of everything in the natural world. He has developed a unique process, raising countless generations of silkworms to enshroud all manner of humble objects with their web-like silken threads. In Chinese, the words for ‘silk’ and ‘poem’ sound similar, as do ‘silkworm’ and ‘Zen’. Liang’s silkworms eat their mulberry leaves, create their soft cocoons that envelop discarded everyday objects, and lay their eggs, living and dying in an endless cycle. Cocoon Bottle and Dagoba are not unlike a sutra, a paean of praise to creation; they are also a celebration of those time-honoured materials of Chinese creativity, silk and porcelain.