The Phase: Hong Kong Contemporary Ceramics

30.4 - 10.7.2021

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Founded in 1992, the Contemporary Ceramic Society (H.K.) is the first and most representative ceramist’s organisation in Hong Kong with the aim to promote local ceramic art. This exhibition is a joint venture between Sun Museum and the Society. It features the recent works of 26 Society’s members. Each work is inspired by a Chinese antique, such as ancient ceramics, bronze ware, ink painting, and even poetry. In response to the contemporary value and inheritance of traditional craftsmanship, the participating artists demonstrate sophisticated skills, creativity, and contemporary re-interpretation through their ceramic works in diverse styles.

Participating artists

Monica Chan Chi Yau
Chan Kam Shing
Priscilla Chan
Ray Chan See Kwong
Yolanda Chan Yuk Lan
Reed Cheng Ming Fai
Suzy Cheung Kai Sun
Cheung Man Ho
Solan Chiu
Blanche Ho
Alan Lai Chi Kong
Lau Wang Tat
Terence Lee Tze Leung
Winus Lee Yee Mei
Jakie Leung Koon Ming
Rosanna Li Wei Han
Winnie Lo Wai Li
Katherine Mahoney
Siu Kam Han
Sara Tse
Janet Tso King
Antonio Wong
Wong May Lee
Ben Yau
Florence Yim Wai Wai
Yiu Chun Wa

Ceramics of Their Times

Generally speaking, earth can be acquired without much cost. Since ancient times, the Chinese have mastered the skills in shaping and firing clay, turning it into a variety of daily ware. Through thousands of years of enhancement, Chinese ceramics have become renowned for their technical achievements and artistic styles, inventing new methods at different times. Creating ceramics is indeed linked to multiple types of art. Other than specialised skills such as glazing and firing, a ceramist would also be familiar with decorating techniques such as painting, calligraphy and carving. Therefore, ceramics is a prominent Chinese art form that fuses all kinds of crafts.

Not only do ceramics serve utilitarian functions, but they also are created as delicate decorations and ming qi (“spirit goods” i.e. burial objects) which take diverse forms. Ceramics for funerary purposes are usually of subpar quality as better-quality clayworks are reserved for day-to-day use. They are designated to be buried and thus used by the departed in the afterlife. In fact, burial pieces placed in tombs are mainly reproductions of wares comprising models of buildings, figurines, and animal sculptures.

On a different note, Chinese potters are skilled in imitating other art forms including bronzeware, gold ware, silverware, jade ware, wood carving, bamboo carving, stone carving and ivory carving. Ceramics are modelled upon desirable goods coveted by the upper class that ordinary people cannot afford. Potters would take the designs of these goods to replicate look-alike copies at low cost to meet their needs.

Present day, burying the dead with ceramics is no longer practised while practical ceramics for everyday life are ubiquitous and rich in diversity. Moreover, many artists make ceramics as a means to express their observations and thoughts.

Instead of imitating other art forms like Chinese potters in the old days, ceramic artists today explore diverse techniques and integrate the essence of various traditional crafts into their works. They do not intend to mirror or revive the past, but to bring a new dimension to ceramic art. Through revitalising traditions, they strive for innovation and create masterpieces of our time. This is indeed a truly meaningful attempt.

Rarely does a kind of art evolve on its own as different art disciplines influence one another, provoking changes in each of their practices. Hence, the bygone periods have their own artistic language while the arts of today have their distinct features. Although different categories of art vary in their forms and characteristics, one can always trace their origins and developments through close examination.

YEUNG Chun Tong
Director, Sun Museum

Exhibits

The Phase: Hong Kong Contemporary Ceramics

Editor: Elaine NGAN
2021, paperback, Chinese/English, 116 pages, 20 x 26 cm
ISBN: 978-988-78197-8-3

A fully illustrated exhibition catalogue featuring 38 sets of ceramic works by 26 members of the Contemporary Ceramic Society (H.K.), including Ray Chan See Kwong, Terence Lee Tze Leung, Jakie Leung Koon Ming, Rosanna Li Wei Han and Wong May Lee.

Price: HKD$100