In the exhibit Dust Language, the artists take ceramic art into a whole new level. They stripped off the functional aspect of ceramics and transformed it into the realms of the aesthetics and the narrative.
Through her work, Tsai Pei-Ru talks about daily life. She transforms us into voyeurs as we look at her installation work. On a table, she placed several bowls with transparent glass lids, through which we can take a sneak peek at miniature private living spaces such as kitchen and dining area.
Tsai Zung-Lung’s pieces are intricate. The artist applied sculptural techniques by using a knife to carve out the clay in order to create these fine pieces.
Jin Shih was inspired by a homeless man who kept hitting his head on the pavement when she was walking on the street one day. In her installation, a video is projected onto the wall. It shows a ceramic head attached to a bar which is attached to a motor. The motor makes the bar move vertically, making the ceramic head hit the floor. The head breaks gradually after every hit, revealing the many ceramic faces inside (Think: Russian doll). Just below the projected video are the real motor, bar, and ceramic head. When you look closely, the ceramic head contains many other faces which show different emotions: happy, sad, awkward, and the innermost face, angry. For the artist, a person carries with them different emotions even though we only see one emotion on the surface.
Chen Chao-Tung’s installation work deals with the functionality of ceramic bowls. The unglazed clay bowls are distorted in different ways and therefore cannot act as a container, stripping them off their basic function. By suspending them in the air like enlarged chimes, the artist was able to create tension since ceramic materials are very fragile and easy to break. (Just think how nerve-wracking it has been to put up this installation!)
This pile consists of separate layers of white ceramic. They are supported by wooden blocks to prevent them from touching one another. If the wooden blocks are taken away, the layers form one huge ceramic, comfortably fitting onto one another.
The design of Chiu Liang-Cheng’s piece is elegant and very minimalist. From afar, this piece work makes us think that it’s made of bronze or steel.
Tension permeates many aspects of Chen Wei-Chen’s ceramic sculpture-like piece. The piece may remind us of an elongated and enlarged trunk, almost encasing the tree in a suffocating way, the same way bonsai trees thrive in confinement. The “tree” stands on a potters wheel which lies on top of an old stool, creating tension.
This is the series that won Wu Yu-Pei recognition in Taiwan Ceramics Biennale in 2016. It is known for its aesthetic and the technique the artist used. The artist used glaze, a liquid that is used to cover plates, cups, and other materials made of clay to give them a shiny surface, to hold the clay together, creating designs that look meticulously formed.
Photo courtesy of taiwanclayart.org
The show Dust Language runs from 8 July to 30 July at Elsa Art Gallery in Taipei.
NOTE: Special thanks to the gallery manager Ms. Wanda Shen for showing me around!