Visual feast of ceramics dazzles visitors

By Hao Nan | (China Daily)| Updated : 2018-10-12

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A visual feast of ceramic art was presented in late September in Qingdao, Shandong province, serving as a high-quality platform to promote the city's art and cultural exchanges and development, organizers said.

The 2018 Qingdao International Ceramic Exhibition, held from Sept 21-28 in Shinan district, was hosted by the International Academy of Ceramics, the Qingdao municipal bureau of culture, radio and television, press and publication, the Qingdao municipal gardening and greening bureau, and the Shinan district government.

Featuring "fashion, originality and speciality", the weeklong event invited Jacques Kaufmann, president of the International Academy of Ceramics, an official NGO partner of UNESCO, and attracted about 20 top ceramic artists from more than 10 countries and regions such as China, the United States, France and Japan.

Attendees of the gathering included Ann Van Hoey from Belgium, Janet DeBoos from Australia, Marta Armada from Spain, Monika Patuszynska from Poland and Chen Guanghui from China.

The exhibition displayed nearly 100 modern ceramic products in various shapes and with diverse production skills to show different understandings and experiences of ceramic art between Eastern and Western artists.

Ceramics has a long history and those for daily use have witnessed an evolution spanning 13,000 years, Qingdao Daily cited Kaufmann as saying.

Commenting on the functions of the ceramic artform, the French artist said that it was hard to determine whether contemporary ceramics focused more on practicability, artistry or skills, according to the report.

A plate may not merely be used for holding food, for example. It can also have some sort of emotional resonance with its owners, so they feel pain when it is broken, Kaufmann added.

Danish ceramic artist Bodil Manz said that although functionality is an important aspect of utensils, she did not like to focus on the practical merit of her ceramic works. The 75-year-old said she preferred to make a vessel thinner and more transparent to highlight its beauty.

The three pieces of ceramics Manz exhibited at the event have been rated by industrial insiders as a masterpiece of the fusion of artistry and technique. They allow people to associate with images of the quiet European countryside, tidy houses and barns in cool colors and exquisite streets, experts said, according to Qingdao Daily.

China boasts a profound history of ceramics and the country's ceramic art spread across the world through the ancient land and maritime silk road, and during the Age of Sail, which roughly started in the 16th century. It had a major impact on the progress of human civilization and became one of the main carriers of Chinese cultural exchanges and dissemination.

Nowadays, the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, which was unveiled in 2013, is bringing new opportunities for the revival and development of ceramic culture.

Qingdao is an important node city along the initiative. It also hosted the 18th Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in June, the success of which showed that the city has been recognized as an international metropolis, according to the Qingdao government.

The city's Shinan district, where the exhibition was located, has long served as a window of Qingdao's reform and opening-up. The district boasts two famous national historical and cultural streets, and has buildings with various international design styles, including those from China, Germany, France, Italy, Russia, Spain and the US. During the exhibition, several academic forums and parallel seminars were held on Sept 22-23, and a group of Chinese and foreign ceramic artists were organized to communicate with school students on Sept 21.

They visited the Qingdao Wendeng Road Primary School, helping students make ceramics and sharing with them the creative ideas, techniques and an understanding of their ceramic works.


The picturesque view in Shinan district of Qingdao, Shandong province.Song Zhe / For China Daily    


From Left: Ceramic products made by Danish ceramic artist Bodil Manz are on display at the 2018 Qingdao International Ceramic Exhibition. A student learns the technique of making ceramics at a school in Qingdao. The exhibition displays nearly 100 modern ceramic products in various shapes and with diverse production skills.Photos Provided To China Daily