One thing I’ve been meaning to do for a while is introduce you to Luo Xu, an old
Luo Xu has been making sculptures with no formal training for the past few decades. After a rough and tumble time in and around Yunnan, he stumbled onto a plot of land outside of Kunming and began work on his Magnum Opus, the Earth Nest, which serves as a sort of museum for his myriad sculptures and a playground for his friends, among other things.
I first noticed the place when I had just arrived in
Over a year later I began to get to know
I stood at the gate stupefied, with my first memories of the place coming out of the cellar. Words don’t do a whole lot of justice to this place. He’s created an entire fantasy world out of mounds, warped lines and piles of giant sculptures. He’s always changing it around or adding to it, and there are always plenty more sculptures to squeeze in.
He and Luo Hui, an aging donkey, preside over the sprawling compound. Cool Kunmingers who’ve been around long enough all know the place, and it has served as a sort of social center for us over the years. We’ve thrown some excellent parties there, and would do it more often if that didn’t mean renting a few buses. It’s quite far from town. He’s had several bonfire/barbecues, and even once hosted a Nepalese band that was passing through.
It’s been a bit less active in recent years, but I try my best to have dinner there at least once each time I’m in town. A lot of his friends bring important clients there to impress them, and sometimes we just go there to hang out. His artistic skills are rivaled only by his skills in the kitchen, and we know he’s always good for a homestyle
Many people are frightened by the place and by Luo’s artworks, but if you get to know the guy, you start to see a whimsical intent in his pieces, like with the golfing terracotta soldier that sits on my desk. One of his favorite elements is legs, and they can be found behind every corner. Sometimes he stacks them up to make odd things like windmills, scorpions and dragonflies.
He’s probably one of the most renowned and least known artists in
A few years ago I had the honor of accompanying him to