At the beginning of the spring, “Plumtree Scent: Contemporary Jewelry by Teng Fei” had a grand opening at the Ginkgo Art Center, which is a presentation of the artist’s thoughts over the last 5 years, following the solo exhibition “Ctrl+S” in 2011. She selected five groups of representative works, including both new creations and the previous ones, such as “Plumtree Scent”, “A Cloud”, “Grinding Jade”, “An Inch of Time”, and “Heart Sutra”. At the same time, the exhibition also researches relevant documents and files, using Teng Fei’s own words to describe it, “intended to comprehensively put a fragmented self in this place, to have a conversation on time and life with the viewer.”
Teng Fei created a very important concept of “redoing”. Even the new work of “Plumtree Scent”, it is also from the meaning of “redoing”. From “That Summer” which commemorates the birth of children and new life in 1988, to the inadvertently collecting of hair and twisting a necklace during the period of SARS, and “Plumtree Scent” was created after experiencing a confused life and changes of life, which is a symbol of rebirth from the ashes, and these items have a very strong ceremonial sense and commemorative significance, they are whispers of different periods, behind “redoing” is the repeated expressions of the comprehension of personal feelings and life experiences.
Similarly, this acts as a true record of life experiences and cultural thinking, “A Cloud” expresses the desire of people who are imprisoned in an haze of blue sky and white clouds; “Grinding Jade” is a complete process of human cultivation and the respect for all things; “An Inch of Time” captures the traditional ancient instruction and the Oriental philosophy; the flying flower and leaf from the “Heart Sutra” which inadvertently flows like poetry, which is diverted from the beautiful impression in nature when he was a child.
As a founder and leader of “contemporary jewelry”, Teng Fei took “material experiment” as the creative entrance to jewelry art, which placed the creation of “contemporary jewelry” in the synchronic structure of contemporary art. Now, how do we define jewelry? Its function does not only refer to a simple decorative meaning but acts as the most important thing for the true inner relationship between jewelry and people. As the creator, how does he/she get rid of the aesthetic perspective of traditional jewelry, to maintain an independent creative perspective, how to get rid of constraints of homogeneity or academic institutionalization? How could creators find more possibilities for the audience in the creation, by wearing and watching? These questions are constantly pursued by the creators of contemporary jewelry. In the process of practice, they strive to change the ecology of contemporary jewelry, to guide the public’s aesthetic habits and consumptive attitude, to give jewelry more contemporary cultural attributes and humanistic care.
In addition to Teng Fei’s representative works, it also includes the works by 25 artists that have graduated from the Central Academy of Fine Arts, majored in the speciality of jewelry. Teng Fei is very proud to speak to these students. Some of these outstanding graduates have continued the conceptual creation, which has always been at the forefront ofthe thinking for contemporary jewelry. Some work together and set up studio brands, practicing the idea of “wearable art”, to find a path of development between the art and business with these fresh design brands which are close to the general public and have been sought after and supported by many young people. There is also a type of student that becomes a designer in large enterprises, leading the trend in the styling of large brands and jewelry industries. Some become leaders who establish the jewelry specialty in other colleges. She believes that it has become a mode at the moment, and it is time to have some promotions, creating a platform and a way to allow more ordinary viewers a way to understand what is contemporary jewelry, learning more things about the excellent original jewelry designs in China.
“Contemporary Jewelry”is a professional direction, originally established in the School of Design, the Central Academy of Fine Arts. After Twenty years, the jewelry art in China sprouted and it is blooming because Teng Fei and her team of teachers sincerely devote themselves to the teaching and the pattern and appearance of Chinese jewelry art in future will be decided by the young people to a large extent. However, it is still a lonely territory. Cultivating a jewelry artist of textural quality is both in need of an artistic falling point, speculative ability, unique concept, cultural nourishment; and the falling point of design: the ability in production and presentation, the comprehensive ability to solve a problem. It is necessary to have these qualities to finish a cultural, artistic, practical piece of jewelry.
For the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the jewelry specialty of CAFA, “Ten Years – Re: Jewelry – The Central Academy of Fine Arts and Contemporary Jewelry” exhibition was held in 2012, it reviewed and summarized the ten years of teaching in the jewelry specialty, introducing international jewelry art works, studying the development and differences of the Chinese and foreign jewelry design, and taking “the art and education of contemporary jewelry” as the theme for a discussion. We can see that this research at that time has a far-reaching impact, the colleges and universities across the country have created the jewelry specialty in succession and brough a new understanding to the public.
As a leader of creation and education for contemporary jewelry, how has she always maintained a leading attitude? How to go beyond the shackles, will she foreseeably continue to push forward? Teng Fei and her heirs will continue to adhere to it and develop, to have a continuous and effective research of the most forward-looking issue in jewelry.
Text by Zhu Li, translated by Chen Peihua and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO
Photo by Yang Yanyuan/CAFA ART INFO
About the Exhibition
Opening: at 16:30 on April, 2, 2017 (Sunday)
Duration: April 2, 2017 – May 2, 2017, From Monday to Saturday 10: 00 – 18: 00
Venue: Ginkgo Art Center
Address: No. 40, Xinzhong Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing (west gate of the Workers Gymnasium, east of Asia Hotel)
For further information please contact the center via +86 (10) 65533531 www.ginkgoart.cn