Thursday, May 29, 2014

2014 Taiwan Ceramic Biennale at the Yinnge - TERRA NOVA. Hon's Experience.

It is indeed an incredible privilege to have your ceramic work selected for a major international exhibition. It is even a greater experience when your creative statements gets selected for a Ceramic Biennale in countries where ceramics is one of the major economic developing sectors – contributing significantly to the country’s GDP. They include the International Ceramics Festival Mino, Japan; The eighth Gyeonggi International Ceramic Biennale 2015 Korea, and the 2014 Taiwan Ceramics Biennale at the Yinnge Museum.  
The annointed one - Wendy Gers curator of 2014 TCB.
The later, titled TERRA-NOVA, a curated exhibition of cutting edge ceramics by Wendy Gers (Images above & left), opened to the public a few weeks ago. Having your work selected for a biennale can be a huge boost to your creative output, but being there in the flesh is a valuable and exciting experience.  To set up your work alongside international ceramists, to be present at the Opening Awards Ceremony and to participate in the planned conference and associated events organised at the ceramic centre, linked to the exhibition venue, was truly amazing. 

Andile and the master
You develop new friendships with fellow international ceramists, get to interface with key personnel at the museum and get invited to a grand master's studio, working in close proximity to the museum. 
Everywhere you go ceramics take centre stage – after all these are Ceramic Centres of Excellence, built in the heart of the ceramic industry. In these hosting countries, Ceramics is central to the museum collections, and the major attraction at these cultural production venues and exhibition spaces - on all levels.

This was certainly the case at the Yinnge Museum; a contemporary building designed and built by an award-winning architect, to showcase ceramics in every conceivable form shape and concept. Children from a young age visit these ceramic centres; they travel from afar to be introduced to the world of clay, sowing a seed that will germinate with an incredible support program, should the individual demonstrate talent, passion and the individual creative potential.
I arrived at the Yinnge Ceramics Museum, venue for the 2014 TCB, a week before the opening ceremony, to set up my work. When your work involves Digital technology always consider the worse – things can go horribly wrong. Needless to say I struggled to get the registration right – in the end was it perfect – no, but the work looked great and hopefully visitors to the exhibition will enjoy the ceramic inspired animation projected onto the ceramic installation. 

The work formed part a number of works titled Digital materialities. The other themes included Global Identities, Shattered, upcycled and recycled ceramics and finally 3d printed and cnc ceramics. 

Most of the work was exhibited on the third floor, except for a few ceramic installations on ground floor at the entrance; Andile Dyalvane’ expressive vessels and sculptures, Clementina Van der Walt’s  ceramic masks,  tilted Masquerade and a complex ceramic chess set with architectural space structures set inside them - kinetic.

Then there were the ceramic statements by Kukuli Velarde’s – winner of the Korean Ceramic Biennale (images above and below). Her evocative vessels and sculptures tiled, Plunder Me Baby, is crafted to perfection, a link between the past and the present, deeply rooted in the Peruvian pottery tradition. They were by design interspersed amongst the permanent traditional ceramic collections on the second floor at the Yinnge museum. 

A brave and challenging curatorial step forward, to evoke viewers response to the shifts within contemporary ceramic thought and cultural production and the display thereof. Much of the work chosen and exhibited at this major international curated exhibition asks pertinent questions about the future direction of ceramics.  A practical Handbook and brochure were made available at the launch whilst a catalogue is being produced and will soon be published.  It will be a necessary alternative for those unable to travel to see the exhibition, yet wish to get insight into the scope of the curated exhibition.
Bouke de Vries, Restorer turned ceramist - the star of the show.
The critical response has yet to be scripted and published, however only time will tell whether the curatorial stance was a pioneering step forward in the right direction. Breaking down the barriers to extend the ceramic discourse and provide designers, artists and craftspeople, the creative scope to expand the horizons of clay as a significant medium in the broader context of cultural production. 
Wendy Gers curator of the 2014 TCB. Working on the catalogue.
I can’t wait to see the work selected for the next major ceramic biennales. Will the work chosen by the jurors and organisers of future awards exhibition reflect the critical currents within contemporary ceramics posed at the conference linked to the 2014 TCB. The work will be on display at the Yinnge museum until November. TERRA-NOVA as it is titled could yet prove to be the turning point, a radical shift in the juror process to be more inclusive and open to a wider selection of ceramic works, incorporating mixed media and new media.

Gillian and the team of volunteers at work at Yinnge
Head of Education, Bouke and
the Director of the Museum.
I wish to thank the Yinnge Museum staff, including a large number of volunteers, especially Irvin the computer programmer, who went the extra mile to ensure our work and my work in particular was displayed to its optimum at the 2014 Taiwan Ceramic Biennale. 
The hospitality and support was beyond my expectations and the entire experience far beyond what I could ever have imagined. The planned visits to the state museum and temples were extraordinary. The planned well-organised excursions to the National Palace Museum (Taipei), restaurants and incredible Temples (Qingshui Zushi and Baoan Temples) provided much needed time for bonding amongst exhibitors, jurors and museum staff, contributing to an inclusive and memorable cultural exchange experience.
Wendy Gers and Kukuli
And to think planning has already started for the next awards exhibition. This is an excellent platform to attract the best of ceramists worldwide and draw upon their experiences to help shape the future of the hosting country’s understanding of this age-old craft form. But more importantly, it is an opportunity for a country with few diplomatic ties to showcase their incredible hospitality, vast knowledge and unrelenting generosity to host an event of incredible cultural significance, contributing to the development of our experience and value of clay.
First visit to the Yinnge Museum.


Wyn Vogel said...

Congrats - well deserved Eugene - this piece of ceramic installation is so intricate and creative - not to mention the fine detail and finish you have applied!! Wonderful insight into the TCB 2014 - thanks!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Eugene, great review!! It was indeed a wonderful experience.

Unknown said...

Stunning! Congratulations all round.