Jun Yang: The Emperor of China's Ice

Jun Yang: The Emperor of China's Ice

Texts: Elisabeth Fiedler, Jun Yang
Illustration: Yuuki Nishimura
Design: Jun Yang, Karin Buol-Wischenau
Verlag für moderne Kunst | 9783903269972
2019 | English | 19.3 × 27 cm | 32

The Emperor of China’s Ice is the title of Jun Yang’s contribution to the Austrian Sculpture Park. It is based on a myth according to which, in ancient China, ice blocks were buried in the winter months and then served as ice cream in summer.


At the end of November 2018, a 1 m³ block of ice was buried in an embankment in the Austrian Sculpture Park. The ice was excavated again at the Sculpture Park’s spring festival on May 19, 2019. Jun Yang decided to make a children’s book rather than a catalog to accompany the project. He invited the Japanese children’s book illustrator Yuuki Nishimura to illustrate the publication.


More on the project

At the Austrian Sculpture Park to the south of Graz at the end of November 2018, an ice block measuring 1m³ was packed in a wooden box and sunk into hole that had been dug in the ground. This is the artist-in-residence project of Vienna-based artist Jun Yang, whose work deals with the transfer of cultural achievements and the creation of myths. Based on the myth that Marco Polo, returning from his travels to China, had brought back to Europe knowledge about the production of ice cream and its preservation until the summer, the artist recreates this method.


“This extraordinary art project is ever so exciting because neither we nor the artist Jun Yang know what will happen. We are eagerly awaiting the result in May 2019,” commented the director of the Austrian Sculpture Park, Elisabeth Fiedler.


The ice block was put into a wooden box and sunk into a 1.3 m³ covered hole in the ground. The space between the casing and the earth was filled with poor heat conductors like ash and straw and covered with a 1.7m² wood panel bearing a reference to the project. Through this exciting experiment, the artist draws together technical observations, their implementation in real life as well as the construction of history. A striking sculpture is the visible sign of the complex, conceptual work. On offer at the festival, alongside Chinese food, will also be shaved ice cream, based on the original Chinese “Baobing” or Japanese “Kakigori” and served with red beans, mango fruit or Matcha.



 The Emperor of China’s Ice

Editor: Elisabeth Fiedler

Concept and story: Jun Yang

Texts: Elisabeth Fiedler, Jun Yang

Illustration: Yuuki Nishimura

Design: Jun Yang, Karin Buol-Wischenau















About Jun Yang

Born in 1975 in Qingtian, PR China, and grew up in Vienna. Now he lives and works in Vienna, Taipei and Yokohama. His works include films, installations, performances and projects in the public space. Yang is a co-founder of Taipei Contemporary Art Center. Together with his brother Yang Tie and his friend Dong Ngo, he founded the restaurant and bar ra’mien in 2002 and the restaurant chain ra’mien go in 2012. The Café Leopold also recently opened at Leopold Museum in Vienna.

Jun Yang often tells stories in his works that stem from his personal history and focus on questions of cultural and national identity, in particular, what it means to grow up in-between different cultures without resorting to identity politics, and he explores ideas of landscape, home, architecture and social structure – mostly with quirky humor and intimacy.

Jun Yang has participated in several international biennials (Manifesta 2002, Venice 2005, Liverpool 2006, Taipei 2008, Gwangju 2012 and 2018, Bangkok 2018, and Sydney 2018), and his recent solo exhibitions/projects include: The Artist, the Work and the Exhibition, Kunsthaus, Graz (2019); The Overview Perspective, Art Sonje Center, Seoul (2018); A Short-Story on Forgetting and Remembering, ShugoArts, Tokyo (2010); Paris Syndrome, Vitamin Creative Space, Guangzhou (2008). Jun Yang was the 25th Msgr. Otto Mauer Prize Winner (2005); in 2017 he received the Prize for Fine Arts of the City of Vienna.


Text edited from: www.martinjanda.at/en/ , Photo by Wen Peng

Image and Text: the shop, ©Authors, the shop, 2019


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