Chinese sculptor Hu Shaoming has constructed a model of an upside-down metropolis simply known as Umbrella for his City series. The sculpture reflects a booming urban landscape extending from underneath the cool shade of an umbrella. The cold steel parts of the piece are derived from several elements of daily life. They are components and accessories like buttons, metal collars, handles, utensils, and other random bits of metal used to reflect the urbanization of China.
According to the artist, there are approximately 2,000 separate buildings represented in the piece. Each structure is intricately detailed, boasting its own sense of architecture. Altogether they represent one entity, though Shaoming reflects on the loss of traditional Chinese culture as a whole. The parasol being a symbol of the past, the buildings grow further from it with time.
In his piece known as City of Dreams, the artist also reflects on our ties to nature. In this sculpture, another city is growing, this time upwards, from the top of a giant, submerged seahorse. Wrapped in a fairy tale perspective and just as eye-catching as Umbrella, this piece has a greater message that criticizes present societies. With this work, Shaoming seeks to “evoke a sense of crisis that we protect nature.”