The Rationality of Warmth
27 Oct 2018 - 18 Nov 2018

WEN, Meng-YuStatement

My works are mostly pictorial, using acrylic paints as the major way of presentation. Focusing on the subtle emotions in daily life, I try to depict the configuration between objects and spaces in my works. I overlap the scenes, arrange fragments of pictures on the canvas, and reconstruct a new space formed with scenes and emotions. I project my emotions on the scenes around me, especially indoor scenes, and those become the theme of my works.

I try to make the relationship between objects noticeable, and furthermore, a perceived theme. No matter the forms, the place of the furniture, the patterns, or even the stretches or marks hidden behind, they all become the details I want to convey. These patterns, whether they are on the wallpapers or tiles, communicate with each other and extend new meanings. And the places objects are inserted also imply the relationship between people.

In my works, the painting simplifies the physical space, forming interior spaces with piled up colors. Silk printing transforms the flat pictures into delicate patterns on the canvas. The techniques used and the form of viewing from inside the space I create all gradually make differences in progress.

Placing my everyday life on canvas, reconstructing it by repeatedly drawing and painting, I try to transfer my daily scenes into a common state that resonates the public, hoping to develop imagination from others.

CHEN, Hsian-JungStatement

It has been more than five years since I first started hand-building pottery in 2013. Still, I feel like I am gaining so much from the clay; it continues to inspire me to mold the shapes in my mind into something concrete. At times, I might not even realize that I am ‘making pottery’. If I had to explain it, I would say that I regard clay more as a medium, a vehicle that can transport my ideas and images. The various subtle steps of the creative process, the limitations and possibilities of the clay, the mysterious changes of the glaze and the high temperature firing all add to the fascination and joy this creative process entails. Each opening of the kiln is accompanied by a feeling of excitement, although it often results in disillusionment.

In 2014, I started ‘The Fruit Shop’ project that assigned a broader topic to my ceramic work for the first time. I have been drawing inspiration from everyday fruits and vegetables, using techniques of abstract expression to transfer the fruits’ ‘flavor and scent’ onto my pieces. Undeniably, my work has a tendency to stray from its original subject. Many people will ask me: “What kind of fruit do you want to express in this piece?” Most of the time, I am unable to give a clear answer myself. The fruit and vegetable theme is meant more like a prologue to, rather than a frame limiting my creative work. Many a time, art relies on intuition. This is even more true with regard to making pottery. In other words, I strive to create pieces that I like and feel comfortable with. If others also enjoy my work and it even provokes emotions and thoughts in them, I feel very grateful.

Drawing inspiration from the fresh fruit cuts stacked and displayed in a typical glass fridge in Taiwan’s traditional ice and fruit juice shops, I started to create geometric and block sculptures using hand-building pottery techniques. Graphic design has always been an important element of my work. First, I make digital sketches on the computer, trying out different arrangements of various geometric shapes, only to then convert the 2D graphics into three-dimensional sculptures. After the originally two-dimensional shapes are given depth and enter the world of 3D, viewing angles become much more diverse, and new possibilities to combine and arrange them with one another arise.

Although each piece is crafted by hand, I persistently strive to avoid a ‘handmade impression’ by being as neat and smooth as possible and pursuing the pure and perfect shape I have in mind. That being said, I can only ever keep trying, but I will never reach absolute ‘perfection’. Anxiously and slowly I carve out my ceramics, trying to take care of every small detail. I enjoy these moments as they make troubles and bad feelings disappear.

More recently, ‘simplification’ has been one of my main concerns during the creative process. Erasing every hint at their handmade origins, simplifying their shape, and flattening the glaze simplifies my artwork. Sometimes, a ‘simple’ piece of art can accommodate even more imagination and meaning. As someone who has always felt awkward about public speaking, I at times worry that my work might reveal too much of my thoughts. Can a world of straight lines, curves, angles, and radians hide certain emotions or hint at feelings?

In my work, I try to represent an open and accessible state. The arrangement and stacking of the pieces, as well as the relationship between the ready-made objects and their environment all manifest a free and liberating approach. Over the course of this process, I try to capture a harmonious state between them.