Depleted is a series of sculptural vessels made after a residency in Jingdezhen, China in 2008. The work is a metaphor for the environmental devastation caused by kaolin mining, a result of Europe’s obsession with blue and white porcelain in the 16th century.
Jingdezhen porcelain was poetically known to ring like a resonant bell, be white as jade, as thin as a sheet of paper, and as bright as the mirror. This material was like gold in comparison to Europe’s indigenous earthenware clays.
Studio artists at the Pottery Workshop, Jingdezhen are taken on tours of local ceramic heritage sites. One such tour is to see the ‘remains’ of Mount Gaolin, named after ‘kaolin’ the magical mineral unique to porcelain production in this region. Expecting to see romantic mountains depicted in scroll paintings, I was confronted by a landscape that resembles a bomb site with spartan plantings by local villagers to stop the remains of the mountain from eroding away.
Tooth & Nail was a dynamic exploration of contemporary artistic practice and cultural influences between Asian and Australian ceramicists and the creation of a hybrid contemporary ceramic practice. Eleven artists were chosen from Australia, Beijing, Hong Kong and Taiwan including Joe Chan, Sally Cleary, Kris Coad, Andrei Davidoff, Zhou Jie, Josephine Tsui Tze Kwan, Jane Sawyer, Robyn Phelan, Kevin White, Fiona Wong and Mon-Xi Wu.