Bespoke: An Installation by Htein Lin
10 June – 20 June, 2017
My village, Mezaligon, is changing. Bullock carts and wooden ploughs are being replaced by scooters and trawlergyis. Spindles are being replaced by imported fabrics and clothes. Since 2014 I have been accumulating these discarded relics of a simpler non-mechanised age: cartwheels, yokes, cow clappers, spinning wheels. I have incorporated them into my art with sculptures such as Immobilised (2016) and Orbit of Dhamma (2016).
Yangon is also changing. Roads are being widened and the trees are being felled to make way for more cars. I discovered that Yangon City Development Committee, when it cuts trees, sells them off to the makers of Buddha statues, or for firewood. One day I had a tip off that padauk trees on a street downtown were being cut. I arrived when the red sap was still wet and dripping down the cut circumference like a trail of blood. I rescued that wood from the fireplace and took it back to my studio.
My home is changing. We are moving to a new apartment, and need new furniture. I combined the unwanted waste wood from rural and urban change, and created bespoke beds for my family and our guests.
Many artists have made their beds: Mona Hatoum’s cheesegrater Daybed (2008), and Anthony Gormley’s bed of made out of bread (1980), Tracey Emin’s messy ‘My Bed’ (1998), Urs Fischer’s ‘Soft bed’ (2011) and an aluminium Horse-Bed (2013) and ‘Bed’ (1955) which was one of Robert Rauschenberg’s first ‘combines’ of found objects, with a pillow, sheet and quilt with paint. The contemporary art museum in Vienna in 2015 even dedicated the entire exhibition to ‘Beds in History and Contemporary Art’.
I made my beds as artworks. But they are definitely made to lie in too.