“The Earth”—Mercedes-Benz Museum’s Collection

Lv Yongzhong was commissioned to create an artwork for Mercedes-Benz GLK’s art project in 2010. He used engineered wood to create a texture reminiscent of the tire tracks left by vehicles. This work was considered of the greatest Eastern philosophical beauty in the year’s GLK Design Salon.

Concept sketches

Steel plates and engineered wood being put together

Lv Yongzhong’s work is more inclined to offer a cerebral interpretation of the spirit of Mercedes-Benz GLK. A viewer will feel confused if he only fixes his eyes on the work on the ground. The revelation is in fact some inches above the work, where a mirror is hung and the reflection shows a Chinese character “earth.” Lv draws inspiration from Chinese seal cutting and hopes the sense of detachment offers room for the viewer’s thoughts. Chinese characters are more than signs. They have rhythms and carry spiritual connotations. Presenting a character in an opposite way alienates the viewer from his experience, forces him to activate his thoughts, and adds pleasure to the viewing process.

According to Lv Yongzhong, he has given careful thoughts on the material and the character, so as to have every detail associated with the quality of the vehicle, while advocating his own ideal of “halfness,” in which an artist only suggests, only finishes “half of the work” and leaves “the other half” to the viewer.

Vehicle is not seen in any part of the work, but it is everywhere present. The work uses engineered wood, echoing the technology of GLK. The mesmerizing layers in the wood look like sedimentary rocks in the wild or tracks left by a vehicle. The engraving of the Chinese character “earth” reminds people of the flow of the Yellow River along the Loess Plateau. When all of this is faithfully reflected by mirror, the viewer’s confusion turns into enlightenment. A deeper understanding is developed about the earth, the bearer of all life forms in our planet, and about automobile, one of human beings’ great inventions that represents speed and power.

A sense of freedom that transcends all forms is expressed in the work. It is the sense that the vehicle conveys to Lv Yongzhong. For him, there are two levels of freedom, one visible, one invisible. The inner freedom appeals to him the most. It is like “seated meditation” in Buddhism. One gives free rein to his thoughts while he appears to be sitting still.