Although the International Asia-Pacific Contemporary Ceramic Invitational Exhibition has been on show over the last month, it reached its high point this weekend with the arrival of many of the artists, who are drawn from eight countries in the Asia Pacific region. Each gave a series of seminars on various aspects of their art, which most agree is going through a crucial transitional period at the present time.
The Taipei County Yingko Ceramics Museum where the seminars were held is one of the largest institutions in the region dedicated to ceramics and pottery. The establishment of the museum, according to Wu Chin-feng (
The largest groups of artists come from Korea and Japan, who have a similar pottery tradition to that of Taiwan and in many cases face the same obstacles. An entrenched tradition of utilitarian pottery ware, most notably with Taiwan's handmade teapots, has tended to circumscribe the development of new ideas, said Chen Cheng-Hsun (
What: The Contemporary Ceramics Invitational
Where: The Yingko Ceramics Museum 200 Wenhua Rd., Yingko, Taipei County (台北縣鶯歌鎮文化路200號)
When: Until June 6.
Ohi went on to point out that for him, ceramic vessels are not complete in themselves, but interact with their environment. For this reason, Ohi has extended his work to architecture and interior design, creating "installations" in which ceramic work is an integral part.
Much of the work that makes up the current invitational exhibition is very different from that on display throughout the museum in that they are clearly not functional. The first two floors of the museum are dedicated to traditional teapot and vases, along with displays of traditional clay working methods -- so the third floor, with works such as Onlie Ong's Cooking Series -- Stir Frying, a black iron wok containing a stir fry of nuts, bolts and other hardware, all made from clay but designed to look like the real thing, comes as something of a surprise.
Ong, who is from Taiwan, but now works out of his Pine Lodge Studio in New Zealand, said that he approaches his work primarily as an artist -- as opposed to a potter.
"I didn't begin studying pottery until I went to New Zealand," he said. "This gives me much more freedom that locally trained potters. I don't have to follow a tradition."