Clay, extracted from the earth, has been linked to Chinese culture for centuries; utilised to make refined porcelain and pottery through to terracotta figures and sculptural artefacts. Some of the oldest examples of terracotta as a building material can be traced back to China.
The Xintiandi district of Shanghai is characterised by traditional ‘shikumen’ houses made entirely from hand-made terracotta bricks.
Agnes B opened her first international boutique in 1983 in Prince Street, New York. The Downtown area of New York was populated in the 1960’s through to the 1980’s by minimalist artists, who’s work was influenced by industrialised processes and who made work that utilised utilitarian materials and pre-existing objects. In 1986 Carl Andre made the sculpture Manifest Destiny for artist Donald Judd’s gallery on Spring Street, one block from Agnes B’s store on Prince Street. The sculpture was composed solely of eight Empire bricks stacked vertically on their sides.
The project was commissioned as part of UK Now, a unique celebration of British art, architecture and culture taking place in 17 cities across China in 2012.
The installation consists of a series of towers made from terracotta bricks sourced from manufacturing facilities across the UK and supplied with the generous support of Wienerberger, the world’s largest brick manufacturer.