Chinese ceramics capital attracting foreign artists

 

 

Chinese ceramic artist Zhang Lingyun (right) works with a Belgian artist in a ceramic art

village in Jingdezhen, east China’s Jiangxi Province, on July 17, 2014.   Photo by Gao Jing

 

 

Chinese ceramics capital

attracting foreign artists

 

By Wang Jian and Shen Yang

 

Chinese water-ink painting, brighter Western watercolors and delicate porcelain are curiously integrated in the works of American artist Philip Read, making him a focus of attention at a ceramics fair in China’s porcelain capital of Jingdezhen.

Attracted by the art of ceramics, Read has been living in Jingdezhen in central China’s Jiangxi Province for the last four years. It is the third time he has brought his artworks to the annual event, which runs until Wednesday of October 22.

“I have a studio here and I also teach making ceramics,” said Read, one of a number of specialist foreign artists plying their trade in a city that has been producing quality pottery for around 1,700 years.

“I own another studio in New York, but my works are much more popular in China, for their style is more Chinese than Western, which can be better understood by the Chinese collectors,” he explained.

Thirty years ago, Read, who was then a watercolor painter, started to learn Chinese water-ink painting, and from then on, he gradually developed a unique style that combines the techniques of the two types of painting.

About 20 years ago, a trip to Jingdezhen introduced Read to the world of ceramics. “Before that trip, I was not that interested in ceramics, but after I touched the material, I realized how magical and special it was. From that point on, I started to get more and more involved in ceramics,” he said.

Read sees similarities between painting on paper and ceramics. “The porcelain is as white as paper, so it can make beautiful contrast. The clay is also absorbent, just like paper, which allows me to use the same painting techniques.” He prefers painting on ceramics because “the light and color of it make the painting much more beautiful.”

“The technique, concept and style of my works are all a fusion of Chinese and Western art,” he said. “I have to explore Chinese culture in order to create better works, and that is one of the reasons why I chose to settle down here.”

The fair has attracted companies and artists from 35 countries and regions.

Like Read, Dutch artist Adriaan Rees has also made his home in Jingdezhen.

“For the past seven years, I have been partly living in this city, making ceramics and promoting exchanges between artists in Jingdezhen and Delft, which is the ceramics capital of the Netherlands,” he said.

Rees is the organizer of the World Ceramic Road, an alliance of 17 European and Asian cities which are specialized in the pottery industry.

“The member cities are encouraged to exchange their ideas and techniques,” he said.

The fair has also attracted exhibitors from Japan and the Republic of Korea. Kutani ware, a style of porcelain from Japan, has been drawing attention with its exquisite craftsmanship.

According to Chinese sales agent Yuan Jiangping, Kutani ware has a history of more than 300 years, and all the products are made by small workshops in Kutani Village. “It is known for using multiple colors and gold leaf printing,” he said.

It is the 11th time Kutani ware has been displayed at the fair.

“More and more Chinese people are getting to know this Japanese brand, and our sales volume in China is growing year by year. Now, our annual sales volume here is more than 100 million Japanese yen (933,400 U.S. dollars),” according to Japanese ceramics maker Nobuyuki Shimazaki.

“There is no competition between the ceramics of Jingdezhen and Kutani, since their styles are totally different,” he said. “Appreciating other people’s work at the fair has always been an inspiring experience to me.”

 

 

 

 

Ceramic Artist Zhang Lingyun

 

By Gao Jing

 

Zhang Lingyun works in a studio at home in Jingdezhen on July 18, 2014.   Photo by Gao Jing

 

Zhang Lingyun is 40. It’s been 20 years since the ceramic artist came to Jingdezhen, China’s “porcelain capital”.

Zhang’s story with ceramics had a random, romantic start: she knew barely anything about ceramics before she came across the name “Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute (JCI)” when applying for college. “Ceramics sounded interesting so I filed the application for JCI.” The whim of impulse had made great difference in Zhang’s life.

Her very first contact with ceramics ended up with frustration. It was much more difficult than what one might think. “The whole work would be ruined if there were a single flaw in any process,” said Zhang. “I was having a hard time and doubted my choice frequently.”

Zhang did not really fall in love with ceramics until she went to the South Carolina State University in 2006 on an exchange programme. There, she was impressed by a slogan on a fellow artisan’s T-shirt: Clay is everything. “The earth sustains our world; it’s reasonable to attribute the birth of ‘everything’ in this world to the clay, a major substance of the earth,” she said. “Meanwhile, clay is subject to any form the human hands can shape: what great vitality! Isn’t ceramics the best manifestation of the clay’s beauty?”

Hands and flames are the catalysts of Zhang’s love for ceramics, as studios, factories and field workshops are their places of rendezvous. Gradually, she had gained mastery in the artisan-porcelain relationship.

Zhang remains unmarried, but not lonely. Perhaps, she said, porcelain really is her best lover. “When I sit down and ‘talk’ to my ceramic work, I can achieve peace in mind. You should not treat it as a task.”

Zhang’s works have won awards both at home and abroad, many of which became international collectibles. The blue-and-white porcelain lamp posts designed by her now decorate a road near the city hall of Delft, Holland. She had also visited many foreign countries. “I like different ceramic cultures, which provide me with inspiration. I also like to observe the subtlety and delicacy of the daily life, which help me improve my artistic creation,” she said.

Zhang is an associate professor at JCI, her alma mater, offering courses in blue-and-white porcelains, porcelains for daily life, ceramic environmentalism and ceramic designing. Occasionally, she invites students to discussions at her residence, expecting thoughts and insights that may not occur in common classes.

At present, Zhang is also preparing for her own ceramics gallery, “Yun Space”, which is about to be ready later this year. Once “Yun Space” is launched, there will be regular international ceramic exhibitions and scholarly lectures. “I hope visitors to ‘Yun Space’ can update their perception of the ceramic art and see into its great possibility,” she said.

 

 

 

 

Let’s share Chinese version !!!

 

两位外国陶艺家在景德镇中华陶艺村进行拉胚擂台赛。 朱磊 摄  
(资料图片摄于2005年10月15日)

 

 

扎根在中国瓷都里的“外国陶瓷情缘”

 

作者: 王健 沈洋

 

中国水墨画的灵秀、西方水彩画的饱满,再配上景德镇陶瓷的细腻温润,你一定以为这样的作品又出自某位中国陶瓷大师之手。然而,在正在举行的景德镇国际陶瓷博览会上,坐在记者眼前的这位“大师”,却是一位金发碧眼的老外。

他叫雷菲力,因为被陶瓷艺术所吸引,已经在中国瓷都景德镇生活了四年。“我是景德镇人!”当这句还不算熟练的中文出自这位外国陶艺家的口中时,让人有些好笑又倍感亲切。

雷菲力说,这是他第三次带着自己的作品来参加陶瓷博览会。“我在景德镇开了自己的工作室,制作陶艺的同时也给学生上课。”他说,“我在纽约也有一个陶瓷工作室,但是我的作品在中国市场更受欢迎。这些作品的风格相对来说更东方化,所以更容易被中国人所理解和接受。”

这位出生于英国的艺术家从小学习水彩画,30年前他开始接触中国水墨画,从那以后他逐渐形成了融合中国画与英国水彩画的独特绘画风格。雷菲力与陶瓷结缘要追溯到20年前他来景德镇的一次旅游,“在那之前我对陶瓷没有太多了解,但是当我第一次触摸到这种材料时我就喜欢上了它。于是开始研究瓷器釉彩技术,努力将我的绘画作品通过这种独特的材质展现出来。”

“陶瓷和纸张一样洁白并且是有吸收力的,所以在陶瓷上作画与在纸上作画有很大的相似之处。但是颜料的色彩经过陶瓷烧制以后会发生很大的改变,这就要求我对陶土的特性以及陶瓷烧制技术有所研究。”他说。

雷菲力说他更喜欢在陶瓷上作画的感觉,因为陶瓷的光泽能赋予作品更多的美感。他的作品综合运用了水彩画、水墨画以及景德镇的青花技法,无论在技术上,还是在理念和风格上都是东西方艺术的融合,“我必须不断地学习中国的艺术和文化,中国文化太深奥了,在中国安家能让我更好地了解这里的文化。”

“景德镇是一个很特别的地方,有很深的文化底蕴,而且这里的生活方式令人感到非常放松舒适。”他说。

坐落在中国江西省的景德镇市是享誉世界的千年瓷都,已有1700多年的制瓷历史。从18日到22日举行的景德镇国际陶瓷博览会吸引了35个国家和地区的企业和个人前来参展。

参加瓷博会的外国陶艺家中有不少人和雷菲力一样,已经把自己的事业扎根于景德镇。来自荷兰的艺术家阿德里安·瑞斯回忆说,7年前,他刚到景德镇就被这座城市深深吸引。“欧洲的手工陶瓷只在几个城市的小圈子里盛行,我一来景德镇就看到这里整个城市都在做陶瓷,到处都是年轻人。”他说。现在瑞斯大部分时间居住在景德镇。他娶了位中国妻子,不久将迎来第二个孩子的降生。

这次来瓷博会,瑞斯的主要工作是宣传推介“世界陶瓷之路”项目。据他介,世界陶瓷之路成立于2010年,全世界有17个陶瓷业城市加入该联盟,目标是促进城市间的文化交流,共同推进陶瓷技术和营销的创新。

瓷博会上,来自日本和韩国的陶艺作品也以其独特的风格赢得了广泛关注。在日本九谷烧瓷器展位,一件件釉色华丽、贴有金箔的瓷器作品让观众叹为观止。据九谷烧中方代理袁江平介绍,九谷烧因发祥地九谷得名,九谷是日本的一个村庄,有300多年的制瓷历史。九谷烧的瓷器都出自九谷的100多家小作坊。

日本九谷烧陶艺师嶋崎信之说,这已经是九谷烧第十次来瓷博会参加展览、推销商品。“景德镇做的陶瓷和九谷烧的陶瓷风格完全不一样,大家之间基本没有什么竞争。每次来瓷博会我也会看看别人的陶瓷展示,借此来激发自己去创新。”他说。

 

 

来自美国一所大学的陶艺教授(左)和中国陶艺家探讨创作体会。 章武 摄
(资料图片摄于2005年6月22日)

 

 
陶艺家郑袆(右)、安田猛(中)和外国陶艺家在景德镇乐天陶社交流。  章武 摄
(资料图片摄于2009年5月17日)

 

 

 

 

Let’s share more info !!!

 

• Chinese ceramists create jade-like porcelain

By Wang Jian and Shen Yang

At the ongoing international ceramic fair in Jingdezhen, a new type of porcelain has been lauded by experts and visitors with its jade-like smoothness and translucency.

The jade-like porcelain was newly developed by Jingdezhen Porcelain and Jade Research Institute. According to the head of the institute Huang Sheming, the clay of such porcelain is mixed with jade powder, giving it its appearance.

The new composite was first produced in August.

“We have spent about 10 years in developing such a new material,” he said.

Currently the main products made of this material are porcelain plate paintings and tableware.

Zhou Guozhen, professor with Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute, said, “The jade-like porcelain is a significant innovation in pottery industry and it has created a brand new painting material.”

Qi Desan, editor of the magazine China Ceramics Art, said, “The new kind of porcelain resembles jade both in terms of the look and touch.”

“Real jade cannot be painted since it cannot withstand high temperature and colors cannot be burned onto it. Patterns and designs can only be carved into the jade wares, while the creation of this jade-like porcelain has helped realize the combination of the beauty of jade and painting,” he said.

“The firing of the jade-like porcelain has a low success rate, so its price is high comparing to other kinds of porcelain, according to Huang Sheming.

 

 

 

• China’s 1st online ceramic copyright trading platform opens

By Li Laifang,  Zhang Hui, Yuan Huijing and Li Meijuan

The first online ceramic art design copyright trading platform in China was officially launched on Monday in the country’s “porcelain capital” of Jingdezhen.

Individuals or businessmen can use the platform to select and buy the copyright from artists’ various design works displayed on the portal’s website.

It was developed by Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute in east China’s Jiangxi Province, to promote the sound development of the porcelain industry.

Porcelain designs for daily use, sanitation and art are available on the website tcxycxy.ccmall.cn.

The opening of the platform is aimed at helping build a healthy ceramic market by protecting the works and rights of designers and encouraging their innovation enthusiasm, said Guo Li, an official of the institute.

With a porcelain producing history of 1,700 years, Jingdezhen has attracted an increasing number of porcelain art lovers in recent years. Yet plagiarism is common in the industry due to local poor awareness of intellectual property rights protection and law enforcement.

 

 

 

 

• Ceramics database launched to help regulate art market

By Wang Jian, Shen Yang and Yuan Huijing

An online database listing detailed information of Chinese ceramic art works was launched on Monday in Jingdezhen City, east China’s Jiangxi Province.

Jointly built by Chinese art works authentication recording center under the Copyright Society of China and Jiangxi entry-exit inspection and quarantine bureau, the database has collected such information as the microscopic structure, chemical constitution, physical performance, and three-dimensional pictures of different ceramic crafts.

Art collectors and appraisers can log on the database’s website http://www.ccloudb.com for reference when trying to identify the authenticity of a ceramic work.

The database is expected to help regulate the trading market of ceramic crafts, and protect the intellectual property of ceramic art works.

So far, the database has 90 items. Developers of the database are striving to expand the offerings by inviting more ceramists and collectors to have the information of their art works collected.

 

 

 

 

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