Chinese sculptor Hu Shaoming's urban landscapes look like something out of a fairy tale—golden cities that hang upside down or steel towers that ride on a seahorse's head.

Hu explains that the seahorse piece, titled "City of Dreams," is actually about the broken nature of its fairy tale premise, the idea that nature is supporting humanity's urban dreams, and will one day be exhausted. Perhaps when the seahorse grows weary of bobbing its city at the surface, it will sink, carrying the city down with it.


The golden series, his "Umbrella" series, contains by his count 2,000 individual buildings, made of metal from buttons, clothing accessories, utensils, food containers, furniture fixtures, and other odds and ends of daily life. For him, they represent the way in which traditional Chinese culture is diminishing:

When these trivial details of life are mirrored in the magnificent patchwork of the ancient feng shui compass, I feel Chinese culture decentralized, set in Japan's unique cultural charm.

Hu's works are currently on display at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts.

Hu Shaoming [via My Modern Met]