RAS Art Focus Group

RAS Library

On PET bottles, umbrellas and remote villages

Speakers: Magnus Valdemarsson and Sun Haiyan

We continue our 2020–21 theme of Creative Ensemble for RAS Art Focus, exploring art outside and beyond the physical parameters of institutional museums and galleries. Through this specially curated series, we seek to explore and expand our notion of what constitutes “art.” This month, we are pleased to have Magnus Valdemarsson and Sun Haiyan who will discuss the arts, crafts and science behind turning used PET bottles into one-of-a-kind umbrellas. The pair’s frequent and extended stays among friends and associates in rural China (particularly Yunnan) have given them insights into what remains constant in village life, and what is changing over time. For Magnus, those stays have amounted to minor field studies, which have informed his artworks on his unique umbrella designs. Both Magnus and Haiyan will share their stories on how some villagers and villages have found opportunities to remain, or become, relevant in spite of the trend of massive migration to the cities.

About the speakers:

Magnus Valdemarsson is a designer from Sweden. Having previously been in the employ of both so-called “starchitects” and local design studios, he has contributed a fair share to the more or less ordered accumulation of concrete in eastern China. Nowadays, on the contrary, he is very much dedicated to small, slow and handy design and art projects. Magnus has studied anthropology, history and architecture in Sweden and Germany and holds an M.Arch. from Lund University. He is an alumnus of the Film and Television Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU) in Prague.

Sun Haiyan is a journalist and editor who, for over a decade, has brought forth the topics of sustainability and inclusiveness in the public discourse. She is a respected authority in the field where sustainable business and social responsibility intersect. She started China’s first magazine on green business in 2011, and has co-authored two books on these subjects. Haiyan runs the consultancy firm and think tank Business Ecology in Shanghai and has been an official speaker at several national and international forums, including COP 21. Haiyan holds degrees in economics from Fudan University, and in business administration from Baltic Business School, Sweden.

Convener: Julie Chun, Art Historian and Art Critic

Please note: the dress code for entering the RAS Library is business smart – no jeans, sneakers, T-shirts or baseball caps.

RSVP: artgroup@royalasiaticsociety.org.cn