Chinese and Japanese Ceramic Sculpture
The Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum will host the exhibition Breaking the Mold: Contemporary Japanese and Chinese Ceramic Sculpture from October 2 through January 28, 2010.

VIDEO: Gene Jenneman talks about the exhibition

VIDEO: Artist Wan Liya talks about the exhibition (part 1)

VIDEO: Artist Wan Liya talks about the exhibition (part 2)

Organized by the Dennos Museum Center in Traverse City in collaboration with Dai Ichi Gallery in New York City, Breaking the Mold features the work of contemporary ceramicists from China and Japan. The exhibition juxtaposes the themes of Chinese work relationships, Western influences, social issues and human relationships with the Japanese attention to aesthetics of form, texture, color and materials. In each country there is recognition of tradition while breaking with that tradition in technique and subject matter brought on by experimentation and/or changes in society

In all, the exhibition features nine artists from Japan and seven artists from China. The Japanese artists included in the exhibition feature contemporary versions of traditional Japanese pottery styles such as the oribe techniques represented in a beautiful oribe landscape platter by Higashida Shigemasa. Also included is the non-traditional expression of Hinoda Takashi, who is among the youngest generation of Japanese professional ceramic artists and is influenced by comic books, cartoons, animated films and pop art.

The show has been on display at the Dennos Center for the past four months.

The Chinese artists in this exhibition are of the post-cultural revolution generation emerging on to the international art scene and creating work in response to a greater interaction with the West and social issues in China. This is expressed in the work of Li Lihong who combines the traditional artistic motif of dragons on a ceramic version of the McDonalds arch, or Xu Hongbo’s stacked porcelain baby figurines a reference to social concerns over the cloning of humans, the devaluing of the individual and population concerns in China.

In both sections of the exhibition, two artists are recognized for leadership roles in influencing the direction of ceramic art in their respective countries. In Japan the first sculptural statements were lead by Hayashi Yasuo, a kamikaze pilot who never received the order for which he had been trained. His efforts lead to the founding of a Japanese avant-garde ceramics group that broke away from the vessel form and utilitarian role of ceramic work, creating objects of art.

In China, Yao Yongkang, from Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute, was among those who early on explored a sculptural direction in his work. His porcelain sculpture has made him a highly respected artist both in China and internationally, and influential among the new generation of Chinese ceramic artists.

Chinese artist Wan Liya will give a gallery talk at the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum Thursday, Oct. 1 at 6 p.m.

“Mr. Liya will talk about his work, what is going on in the Chinese art world and in Songzhuang where he lives,” said Marilyn Wheaton, director of the Fredericks Museum. “We are honored to have him here from China to speak about his work.”

“Wan Liya does quite avant-garde work, exploring transformational figures that sometimes reflect traditional Song Dynasty glazing with references to Western influences,” said Gene Jenneman, Director of the Dennos Museum Center.
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