Made in China: The New Export Ware / Independent Art Projects, North Adams
October 18 – November 16, 2014
Independent Art Projects is pleased to be the first venue hosting Made in China: The New Export Ware, an on-going series of exhibitions and public programs featuring international contemporary ceramic artists re-contextualizing traditional Chinese export porcelain production methods and visual vocabulary, curated by Ferrin Contemporary’s Director Leslie Ferrin.
The exhibition opens at IAP on Saturday, October 18, with a conversation between curator Leslie Ferrin and artist Vipoo Srivilasa, 5-7 pm.
Featured artists Robin Best, Caroline Cheng, Sin-ying Ho, Paul Scott, Robert Silverman, and Vipoo Srivilasa are affiliated the old porcelain city of Jingdezhen and its Pottery Workshop factory in various contexts and channels. Jingdezhen is known as the “Porcelain Capital” because it has been producing quality pottery for 1700 years. The Pottery Workshop factory is an international ceramics center focusing on the development and enrichment of ceramics in China and abroad.
Sponsored as a guest lecturer by the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, Ferrin traveled to China in June and July 2014 with the aim of gaining a greater understanding of the cross-cultural collaboration, production, and appropriation occurring in the New Export Ware movement. During her visit, Ferrin visited ceramic workshops in Jingdezhen and Chongqing, where — similar to the historical model of export ware — skilled Chinese artisans, produce contemporary works for Western markets under the direction of visiting Western artists.
Robin Best (Australian born, lives and works in Great Britain) has lived and worked in Jingdezhen. There, Chinese artisans make the fine translucent porcelain vases on which she applies her meticulous on-glaze history paintings. Through her work, Best raises awareness of important historical events still relevant today.
Caroline Cheng (British born, lives and works in Honk Kong) is an active promoter of ceramics in Hong Kong and China. Her installation at IAP, titled “Prosperity V,” is a kimono covered with thousands of blue porcelain butterflies. Cheng commissioned Chinese artisans in Jingdezhen to fashion each unique butterfly, harking back a millennium to the origins of manufacture for export.
Sin-Ying Ho (Chinese born, lives and works in New York and Jingdezhen) produced her most recent body of work, entitled Garden of Eden, while she was in Jingdezhen between 2009 and 2010. The shape of the eight vessels, six to seven feet tall and part of Garden of Eden, was inspired by the silhouette of the human figure.
Paul Scott (British born, lives and works in Great Britain), is demonstrating the creative potential of ceramic and print, a combination which has been used in industry for hundreds of years. He inserts non-traditional images into existing blue and white traditional Chinese and Cumbrian Blue ceramics.
Robert Silverman (American born, lives and works in New York City) is brilliantly glazing large scale porcelain tiles which begin as raw clay in China. Working with expert craftsman, Silverman designed a paper thin flat tile “blank” which is fabricated in Jingdezhen, China, fired to high temperature, crated and shipped to his studio in New York. Silverman then glazes the porcelain and fires it numerous times in his kiln to create a visual language of pure color field, or abstract text using Morse code or Braille.
Vipoo Srivilasa (Thai born, lives and works in Australia), has developed a body of porcelain figurines that mixes the blue and white traditions of East Asia with contemporary symbols of Australian identity, which transmit universal messages about cross-cultural experiences. Srivilasa was artist in residence at the Pottery Workshop in Jingdezhen in 2010, and he is still working there on a project basis.
Independent Art Projects (IAP)
1315 MASS MoCA Way
North Adams, MA O1247
Above: Sin-Ying Ho, One World, Many People No. 2, 2010, Jingdezhen porcelain, coblat pigment, underglaze, decal, glaze, 77 x 23.5 x 23.5 in. Courtesy of the artist and Ferrin Contemporary.