Dual Plasticity: Unconfined by the Traditional Ideals of Beauty

from Artslink oct 2010

Lau Wang–tat / Participants and helper of the Dual Plasticity exhibition

”It is my pride to take part in and witness the birth of this exhibition.”

Dual Plasticity is a ceramic exhibition.  This exhibition showcases ceramic works created by graduates from the Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art) Programme, which is co-presented by RMIT University, Australia, and Hong Kong Art School.

The Origin
Dual Plasticity started with a simple idea of “let’s get back together and make some art”.  The idea was populated amongst a group of ceramics graduates with a shared passion for clay.  It was the creative exchanges between participants [these ceramic artists?] in the past two years that led to this grand scale project, with supporting activities at the spacious JCCAC galleries.  It is our honour to share our creative experiences and artistic passion with you all today at this ceramic exhibition.

Kneading My Clay and Modeling Myself
It is common for graduates to come together and co-create an exhibition.  However, a co-exhibition for pure aesthetic enjoyment and satisfaction amongst us is not the aim of our artistic pursuits.  Through a series of discussions between our members, we decided to exhibit under the theme of “Dual Plasticity”, to share our thoughts and stories about our creative process with the public.
During our study to become professional ceramic artists, we learnt how to transform and mold clay into the form we desired and to further use it as a medium to express ourselves.  “Plasticity” is one of the unique properties of clay.  It signifies the capability of clay to be modeled and ultimately transformed into the desired form.  However, as we work with clay throughout our lives, we discover that not only do we the artists take part in the modeling process, the clay itself too models and transforms us at the same time.   Clay not only changes our way of thinking and our way of perceiving things, it sometimes radically transforms our lives, careers and goals in life.  Hence, “plasticity” is not only a term applicable towards clay, but is also relevant to describing artists whose lives are modeled by clay.  In light of this highly bilateral relationship between artists and their materials, we chose “Dual Plasticity” as the theme of this exhibition.

The “Dual Plasticity” between You and Me
In this exhibition, we have a “Book of Sharing” that collects various photos of clay works and writings from the artists.  Through the actual artworks and the descriptions in the book, we hope to provide a more interactive curating experience to the audience.
There will also be a Forum at the exhibition on the topic of “Review and Outlook of Hong Kong Ceramics”.  We are very honoured to have experienced artists and distinguished personalities from the arts industry to share their views with the public.  All visitors are welcome to participate in the Forum and learn more about the ceramic art scene in Hong Kong.

How did Clay Transform Us?
We have mentioned the close relationship between clay and artists.  To better illustrate this idea, we have interviewed a few exhibitors:-
“Through creating my artworks, I understand that it is essential to go through trial and failure before one is able to produce a successful artwork.  Now, I become less afraid of failure and allow myself more room to make mistakes.  I do not mind taking risks and radical steps in life as a form of experimentation.  Over the past few years, I have changed my career and have been learning new things from artists all over the world.  I am eager to see how I have transformed through this process of searching.”  (Chan See-kwong Ray)
“Making becomes a way of knowing.  The actions associated with working with clay, understanding the properties of the material and the frustrations involved engage our minds in a different way… We develop an understanding of our way of thinking and how we connect with the world outside.  These “habits” establish a rhythm between problem solving and problem finding.  Through action, we start to think differently. “ (Zoe  Coughlan)
“As I transform my clay, my mind and hands are united.  Gradually, the clay is transformed into the form I desire, preserving the “I” in it.” (Siu Kam-han)
“In this moment of silence, sometimes I feel that the clay and I understand each other perfectly. We know exactly what the other wants to do and work in perfect harmony.” (Ho Man-yee Blanche)

For ten years, we have worked tirelessly to produce works of clay.  There were times when we questioned our undying drive in artistic pursuit.  Where does this vibe come from? Why are we willing to sacrifice so much for our artistic career? Maybe the answer lies in the charisma of clay itself.  Many of us here have experienced the intense bond between our clay and ourself.  Through modeling our clay, we are able to search for our own identity and ultimately transform ourselves into a more complete person.  Perhaps this is also opening the door to the spiritual experience where one can forget one’s individual identity and bond with the world as a whole.  Or even it can be the kind of artistic romanticism as described in the line of “In my clay I see you, and in your clay I can see myself”.  These experiences and spiritual elements of ceramics are hard to express through words alone.  Yet one thing we are certain is that we all share the same genuine concern for the future development of ceramics and have a strong sense of responsibility towards continuing our contribution to this art form.