Duration: Sep 27 – Nov 27, 2019
Opening Reception: Sep 27, 2019, Friday at 5pm
Address: 268 Keefer street, #071 at Lower-ground (LG), Vancouver
Gallery hours: Tues-Sat 12-6pm
Artists: Amy Chang Li-chuan, Wei Cheng
Curator: Steven Dragonn
Immortal of Play – Amy Chang Li-chuan & Wei Cheng Ceramic Exhibition
Text / Steven Dragonn
As early as the Neolithic Age, humans have utilized ceramics as utensils of daily life. As humanity evolved and developed, ceramics as an art-form has prevailed long before the first definition of art endowed by humankind. In a way, our sensibilities towards ceramics are deeply rooted in our genes as humans: it’s inseparable from our diet, and it corresponds to our status and our positions in society. Generally speaking, ceramics is associated with functionality and practicality as everyday utensils, while its artistic quality an additional attribute. As civilization continues to advance, the distinctiveness of ceramics beyond its functionality gradually separates and becomes a unique art form, a vessel to a never-ceasing obsession.
How ceramics (or clay), as an art material and medium in artistic practices continue to evolve in contemporary art is an issue faced by every ceramic artist – how does an ancient art form generate new possibilities and necessities to contemporary social realities? In the same way as to how competitive sports evolved from life and death combat, the concept of “to play” has become a symbol of “civility” in human civilization. The two artists in this exhibition, Amy Chang Li-Chuan and Wei Cheng both attempt to break away from the ingrained concepts in ceramics differently, yet “to play” has become their shared strategy.
Amy Chang Li-Chuan’s work takes inspiration from Steampunk; a distinctive style and genre of the 1980s and 1990s North American subculture. From there, Chang develops her concept of imitation. Chang uses glaze to imitate metal textures, uses the hand-made quality of ceramics to mimic a lifeless industrialized production, and uses ceramics as functional utensils to mimic an impractical Steampunk assemblage. The three layers of imitation find peculiar connections between the practical and the useless, resemblance and non-resemblance, the seriousness and humorous, all of which makes up Chang’s art practice.
Wei Cheng’s works, on the other hand, attempts to break apart from the shackles of ceramic’s inherent qualities in a more radical way. From an institutional criticism viewpoint, Cheng emphasizes her reflections on the indispensable constituents of ceramics: “clay” and “fire.” The production of ceramics is the integration of “clay” and “fire”: clay to take the physical form, while fire the intervenient force that transforms clay into pottery. The properties of “fire” and “clay” have always been the two directions pushing forward ceramics to ultimate craftsmanship. Cheng, in contrary, adapts a playfulness to release the primitive nature of “clay” and “fire,” and merges ready-made objects with “clay” and “fire” to create assemblages, differentiating her work from both the context of ready-mades and ceramics.
In additions to the playfulness, the works from the two artists also speculate the subject of Anthropocene, a geological concept first introduced by Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry, Dutch atmospherical chemist Paul Crutzen in 2000. Crutzen proposed that the earth has moved past the Holocene, a geological epoch that began 11,700 years ago. The rapid growth in population and economic development had tremendous impacts on the global environment. Human activities have caused enough change to earth to create a new geological age. The industrialization of ceramics is precisely the most evidential manifestation of Anthropocene. Heaps of ceramic wastes are gradually changing the soil compositions of the earth’s surface, a change due to the scrupulous attention for high-standard products. To be concise (and not going into a whole other discussion on the art of the Anthropocene age), here is a question worth contemplating: Framing the discussion around the topic of Anthropocene, are the works of the two artists expressions of the uselessness of art, or instead, are they anti-entropian re-creations?
About the artists:
Amy Chang Li-chuan
Amy received a Bachelor of business in Taiwan before immigrating to Canada. By the time she moved to Vancouver she had already found her passion for art during her eight years working for the Cloisonné Company while studying ceramics in a private pottery studio. Amy then decided to go back to school to study art focusing on ceramics. She received a Diploma of Studio Art from Capilano University in 2003, then continuing on to complete her BFA from The Emily Carr University of Art and Design in 2007. Since then Amy has become a studio artist focusing on contemporary ceramic sculpture.
In recent years Amy has shown her work in solo and group exhibitions around Vancouver area and overseas. Amy’s work also has been selected into local and international ceramics competitions. Such as the 3 place award in 2018 Salt Spring national ceramics competition and 2019 International Ceramics Biennale, Taiwan.
Born and raised in China, Wei now lives and dedicates her art practice in Vancouver, BC. She earned her art education from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, where she learns to appreciate the ceramic medium. She has been a resident artist at Jingdezhen, Alfred and Yixing. Her professional practice has also taken her to States and Europe. Her work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions both national and international venues.
藝 術 家：張麗娟、成瑋
策 展 人：龍邃洋
移居加拿大之前，張在台灣獲得了商業學士學位。 當她移居溫哥華時，她在景泰藍公司（CloisonnéCompany）工作的八年中，並在私人陶藝工作室學習陶瓷的時候，已經對藝術充滿了熱情。 然後，她決定回到學校學習以陶瓷為主的藝術。 她於2003年獲得卡皮拉諾大學（Capilano University）的工作室藝術文憑，然後於2007年繼續從艾米麗·卡爾藝術與設計大學（Emily Carr University of Art and Design）完成文學學士學位。此後，她成為專注於當代陶瓷雕塑的工作室藝術家。
近年來，Amy在溫哥華地區和海外各地的個人展覽和團體展覽中展示了她的作品。 艾米的作品還入選了本地和國際陶瓷比賽。 例如在2018年鹽泉國家陶瓷比賽和2019年台灣國際陶瓷雙年展中獲得三等獎。
部分作品收藏機構有：愛爾蘭切斯特.比蒂圖書館、加拿大Peter Kiss畫廊、帕勞Hi Resort 酒店、哥倫比亞Campos de Gutiérrez畫廊等。