First I would like to express my appreciation to the classmates who volunteered themselves to organise fund raising activities, print catalogues and all other marketing work to ensure a successful up-coming exhibition. Without their effort the exhibition would not have happened. As I discovered that whether a solo exhibition or a group exhibition, to work with people in a group or team is essential. I am very appreciative of the team spirit that they passed to their fellow classmates.
The aim of my work emphasises the beauty of form and quality of the material which can be delivered whilst integrating both the use of traditional skills and contemporary concept. In this regard, the way I displayed the objects retained its simplicity in order to accentuate all the elements and avoid artificial and vibrant colours. Choosing colour for the background also had a certain degree of difficulty to contrast the colour between the objects and shelves. A rich dark chocolate colour was chosen because I found the hint of brown was echoed in the wood and at the same time highlighted the whiteness of the objects.
In this project I came across a lot of problems and a huge amount of work, I enjoyed every part of it. The only thing I did not consider enough of was setting up the shelves. It actually involved a lot of hard work and manual labour which I did not mind doing but I felt embarrassed that I needed to involve Caroline, Matt and Jemma as well.
Although the idea of displaying the objects on a plinth had been developed in the early stage, I was in fact not positive whether this arrangement would be the best way to show the objects since the decoration on the objects are related to my personal experiences and I would like to emphasise their importance. It is probably a little weak to express the message I would like to convey if only several objects are alined on a long narrow plinth. At a late stage of the project, I found new inspiration (refer to post : Change the perception by the quantity), I changed my idea of displaying the objects from a plinth to hanging them on the wall and increased the number of the objects which included needing to make more wooden shelves. The sudden change led my schedule to become more intense and significantly increased the amount of work needed to be done in a short period of time. Even though time was tight, I kept communicating with technicians and asked for advice from tutors before taking any more steps.
Another thing that I did not realize in advance which was the object’s surface became smooth and sleek after it was glazed so it slid on the sanded wooden shelves easily. To remedy the issue, I have to put museum glue underneath the object to secure it in place. Therefore, the object cannot be moved in order to view a different angle for audiences to enjoy the narrative painting on the surface.
Unlike individual creation which is a work and an idea that only exists behind the scenes whereas the exhibition is for us to introduce, through the work, ourselves as an artist and designer to the public. In fact, it also involves a different area of how to introduce ourselves to the public such as using business cards, post cards and setting up websites. Since I hoped I could fully develop my idea before ordering the business cards and setting up websites, I kept delaying the progress. That caused me a little stress at the end as it nearly led to the press pack not being finished. In fact, the aim of introducing ourselves in various ways is not only for completing the project but also to ready us for starting our practice.
An ending is just a new beginning and a new journey is waiting ahead for every student. Even though I have gone through three years of study, there are still a lot of areas I would like to explore. To fulfil my goal, I need to find a studio or work space to start with, so I am applying first for INC Space and Firework will be my second attempt. If the application is successful, I will endeavour to make full use of this opportunity and all the facilities the scheme or workshop offers to continue my professional development.
The residency in Jingdezhen was inspiring. Other than my knowledge in ceramics, my skills and techniques have improved and I also met some local artists and students who share the same approach as me, that is, we also admire and value our tradition but at the same time long for innovation and change. They appreciate and are interested in Western art and in particular its concept, but for various reasons their learning opportunities are restricted. Every year many artists around the world visit Jingdezhen to take up residency or to learn the traditional skills and techniques. The local authorities take this opportunity to invite those artists to run lectures or exhibitions, so that the local and foreign artists can exchange ideas and knowledge. What I was delighted to see and witness was the mutual learning and artistic exchange and I believe that it is a good sign which impacts on ceramic art no matter whether it is the East or the West.
I really hope that not too long in the future I can visit Jingdezhen again to continue to develop and learn new skills and techniques and at the same time to share and exchange ideas with local Chinese artists, likewise, I will share this knowledge in this country.