Ahead of the curve: New China from China at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery

This winter the exhibition Ahead of the Curve: New China from China, an exhibition of contemporary ceramics and glass created by 20 Chinese artists, comes to Bristol Museum & Art Gallery.

Birds, Twitter and Fragrance of Flowers © Wan Liya                                                   Birds, Twitter and Fragrance of Flowers © Wan Liya

Showcasing works by both young and established artists, the show offers a taste of the new Chinese glass scene that has recently emerged in the city of Jingdezhen in Jiangxi province, where porcelain has been made for over ten centuries. The city housed the imperial kilns which produced thousands of the finest porcelain wares with high quality raw materials and the skills of local craftspeople for Chinese emperors and their households.


Spring Up Series No. 9 © Zhang Jingjing Spring Up Series No. 9 © Zhang Jingjing

Highlight works include Clones – Position, an unsettling stack of porcelain cloned babies by Xu Hongbo and Dreamers by Shao Changzong, an engaging group of figures who communicate only through their eyes. The work of some artists show influences from outside the Chinese tradition such as Wu Hao’s Drunk Pot which recalls Japanese design with its orange and gilt décor.

Ahead of the Curve also includes striking new work demonstrating current trends and practices across China since some of the artists’ works use traditional Chinese techniques to comment on changes in contemporary society such as Birds Twitter and Fragrance of Flowers, Wan Liya’s porcelain versions of toilet cleaner bottles and other industrial products covered in delicate imperial-style floral designs and poetry.

Dreamers © Shao Changzong                                                              Dreamers © Shao Changzong

A range of exclusive ceramic merchandise has been sourced directly from Jingdezhen for the exhibition and is also available in the museum shop including hand-painted tea sets and porcelain jewellery.This innovative exhibition a great example of what collaborative working can achieve encourages the exploration of the Chinese ceramic history themes and techniques allowing to compare and contrast the ancient and modern.

The Drunk Pot Series No.1 © Wu HaoThe Drunk Pot Series No.1 © Wu Hao


by Xenia Founta

The show continues until March, 1, 2015 at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, Queens Road, Bristol BS8 1RL

Images courtesy of Bristol Museum & Art