Sun, Jul 20, 2014 - Page 12 News List

Beyond teacups

Snapshots of latest trends in the world of ceramics fine art

By Enru Lin  /  Staff reporter

Hitomi Igarashi, Making Porcelain with Origami (2013).

Photo: Enru Lin, Taipei Times

It turns out that desktop printers are good for more than printing invoices — they can also make a pretty serviceable ceramic brick.

Architect Brian Peters has developed a way to make ceramic bricks using a portable desktop printer. He fits it with a custom-built extrusion head, which acts like a frosting pipette and spews a special earthenware blend. The contraption creates a funny-looking honeycomb-shaped brick that interlocks, a sculpture that is currently on display at the Taiwan Ceramics Biennale.

Peters is one of 58 artists featured at the biennale, an international exhibition that Yingge Ceramics Museum has hosted since 2004.

Curated by Wendy Gers, this edition is called Terra-Nova: Critical Currents/Contemporary Ceramics.


The format is unpretentious and cool, made up of just four galleries titled after up-and-coming trends in the field: ceramics art that tries actively to preserve local heritage, 3D-printed ceramics, recycled ceramics and digital ceramics.

In the gallery on heritage ceramics, Juree Kim presents a tribute to neighborhoods that are disappearing in South Korea due to urban renewal. It’s a white clay house that is slowly and barely perceptibly receding into a pan as it absorbs water. By October, the building will be gone.

Nearby, there’s Japanese “porcelain origami” by newcomer Hitomi Igarashi.

Igarashi, a finalist in the 2012 international Lexus Design Award, invented a process for creating paper-thin porcelain. She heats and pours porcelain into a paper mold and fires it at 1,250 degrees Celsius. The paper burns away, resulting in an ultra-thin cup that is both hard and delicate.

Using a similar technique, Taiwanese artist Peng Shao-hsiang (彭紹翔) turns boys’ and girls’ school uniforms into clay art. Ten uniforms are covered with clay and then fired, achieving true-to-size white shirts and shorts with a comfortable lived-in look, Peng said.

Exhibition notes

What: Terra-Nova: Critical Currents/Contemporary Ceramics

When: Until Oct. 12. Open Mondays to Fridays from 9:30am to 5pm, weekends from 9am to 6pm

Where: Yingge Ceramics Museum (鶯歌陶瓷博物館) at 200 Wenhua Rd, New Taipei City (新北市文化路200 號)

Admission: Free


Some of the featured works are by today’s biggest names in ceramics fine art.

Dutch artist Bouke de Vriesa, one of the world’s leading ceramics conservators, presents War & Pieces, a stunning series of porcelain-shard sculptures including one of a mushroom-shaped atomic-bomb cloud. Like all of De Vriesa’s pieces, this one was made using donated pieces of damaged ceramics.

Pierluigi Pompei’s Whispers is a digital sculpture with five tremendous ceramic trumpets. Each emits a different set of painstakingly arranged sounds that interact with the others and change as the listener moves between them.

Since its opening in May, Terra-Nova: Critical Currents/Contemporary Ceramics has drawn over 210,000 visitors, said director Chen Chun-lan (陳春蘭) of the Yingge Ceramics Museum.

The exhibition offers English and Chinese-language panels and audio tours and runs at the Yingge Ceramics Museum in New Taipei City until Oct. 12.

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