Ceramic Sculpture: Fifth Biennial Ceramic Art Exhibition at the China Art Academy, Hangzhou

By Hume, David L. | Ceramics Art & Perception, December 2007 | Go to article overview

Ceramic Sculpture: Fifth Biennial Ceramic Art Exhibition at the China Art Academy, Hangzhou


Hume, David L., Ceramics Art & Perception


[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

THERE HAS, OF RECENT TIMES, BEEN CONSIDERABLE debate regarding Chinese sculpture, much of it centred around the dichotomy of tradition and postmodernity. Zhu Qi argues that Pop Art, with its vibrant and diverse range of colour, has been responsible for giving new meaning to the traditional ceramics of Jingdezhen. (1) While Yin Shuangxi, in his enlightening paper, 'Concerned with Existence: New Developments in Chinese Contemporary Sculpture' (2) makes note that uppermost in the minds of a number of Chinese sculptors is the viability of traditional form, media and content in Chinese sculpture in the 21st century, and that many seek to "emphasise the importance of preserving the existence of a national culture in their sculpture". (3) In restricting the media of this exhibition to clay the organisers have astutely retained a traditional tone to the work gathered, yet at the same time have been successful in encouraging artists to sound a thoroughly contemporary note in their work.

The 2006 exhibition is significantly larger than the preceding exhibitions, in terms of participating artists and works. However, what is most striking is the quantifiable change in content, that indicates that the human figure is receiving much more interest among artists as an artistic device around which to centre debates on aspects of contemporary Chinese society. Set against a quiet incongruous and popularly desired upheaval that is fuelled by the rampant economic growth, it was a delight to discover works in this exhibition that sought to engage with the state of the human figure in contemporary China, while others that took the environment as their theme and yet others who bravely sought to critique recent history.

The content of this exhibition falls loosely into three categories. They are the figure, organic forms and artifacts, and tools of human production. It is apparent from the portion of works that take these subjects as their focus that they are a central concern in the minds of sculptors across the middle kingdom.

[ILLUSTRATIONS OMITTED]

Renditions of the human form are found in many guises, historical, mythical and contemporary. It is abstracted, fragmented, exaggerated and adorned with traditional Chinese art forms. The most eye catching work is Li Chao's Red Series. Finished in a lustrous red glaze that reflects the light at every contour shift, these macabre, doll like renditions of what in two examples are modelled in a meditative pose, like archetypical Buddhist devotees, both attract and repel. The use of such a bold red is not uncommon in China, indeed it is the colour of festival and does not carry with it the underlying sense of drama or evil that is connoted in Western culture. (4) However, in the case of another figure from this series that aims a revolver directly at the viewer, that traditional innocence is, without doubt, replaced with both drama and implied violence.

A similar obese rendering of the figure is also found in Temple Guard, from Lu Pin Chang, Director of the Sculpture Department at the Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing. The obesity of Lu's figures leaves them immobile and, as temple guards, there exists an appealing sense of irony in these works while, alternatively, it might be suggested that both works harbour a tone of bloated leisure.

A more traditional incarnation of the same mythological figures is found in Zhan Xiao Shi's Temple Guards Playing Cards. Zhan is a teacher at the host institution and has contributed four muscular torso figures, with conventional fearsome expressions, in life-like scale. There is, however, a playful nature to these demons, as they compete in the popular leisure activity, each one caught in animated action, pre paring to slam a card down in victory. Anyone who has witnessed the ferocity with which this game is played in the parks and streets across China will instantly recognise the intense expressions and implied action in this work. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Ceramic Sculpture: Fifth Biennial Ceramic Art Exhibition at the China Art Academy, Hangzhou
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.