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Hanart TZ Gallery
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Hanart TZ Gallery at Collect - International Art Fair for Contemporary Objects
by Hanart TZ Gallery
Location: Booth 6.3, Saatchi Gallery, London, United Kingdom
Artist(s): GROUP SHOW
Date: 9 May - 12 May 2014

In China’s literati tradition, aesthetics looked upon craft art as a principal field for articulating taste and cultivation. Today pottery and lacquer in particular are again claiming attention for their role in contemporary aesthetics, bringing with them special sensibilities that are particular to the materials. As vessels, pottery has a special position in Chinese plastic art, as it was in the form of utensil and vessel that China founded its ritual objects -- a very different tradition from that of Europe, where the principal religious form was the human figure. The epitome of Chinese three-dimensional art is therefore the vessel form rather than the human form. This lofty role of the vessel has come down in historical memory as a legacy of fine pottery. In today’s throwaway society, the use of beautifully crafted wares such as Mak Yee-fun’s bring forward the spirit of the ‘ritual object’. As the artist herself states, ‘Having beautiful pottery around you somehow restores the sense of meaning, dignity, and pleasure to the simple acts of life.’

The lacquer tree has been harvested in China since Neolithic times, and the earliest dated lacquer ware is a lacquered wooden bowl excavated at the Hemudu archaeological site in Zhejiang province, and tested to be 7,000 years old. Today lacquer continues to be valued for its special aesthetic qualities. The multiple layering of the slow-drying lacquer gives richness and mystery to the depth of the material surface, and the tradition of black lacquer has kept alive a unique element of Chinese traditional aesthetics known as “you”, a quality of dusky serenity such as that found at the heart of a temple.

Featured works from: Mak Yee-fun, Zhong Sheng and Chen Qinqun.

-Hanart TZ Gallery

Image: © Mak Yee-fun
Courtesy of the artist and Hanart TZ Gallery

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