Renqian Yang’s exhibition Construct Deconstruction is on view at Taoxichuan Ceramic Art Avenue Art Gallery in Jingdezhen, China. As an Chinese residency artist based in the U.S.A., Renqian Yang is interested in the concept of binaries. Her work addresses the unity and the contradiction of dichotomies: restriction and freedom; pessimism and optimism; complexity and simplicity; representation and abstraction; the man-made world and the natural world. The exhibition at Ceramic Art Avenue Art Gallery features her new series of works she created during her residency at Jingdezhen International Studio.

Renqian Yang: Construct Deconstruction

Text by Tapio Yli-Viikari, Professor Emeritus, Ceramic Art, University of Art and Design Helsinki; Artist member of the International Academy of Ceramics IAC

Seeing art of Renqian Yang is a mental journey into a world that has been deconstructed from fragments. On the first look seems random: no order, no stories, no obvious answers to meet the viewer’s expectation. Is there a key to the many locks that are common in many of her work Fabricated Construction? Other elements that passes the viewer’s eyes are stones, broken fragments of domestic objects, things that we usually ignore but live with; things like light bulbs, tubs and different nails, those are usually what keep things together, but now are useless and loose, lost their function. They seem like what were left behind when god created the world.

Paradise lost, is to be found in her series of works titled Landscapes Deconstruct. They remind me of traditional landscapes in China, on porcelain to be more specific. Miniature garden stones are randomly covered with fragmented blue and white landscapes. They offer associations to landscape escapism. They represent thousands years of tradition and history. After living and working in the United States for seven years, it is her return to her heritage, a representation of  her searching to reconstruct her identity as a Chinese artist.

Ren has grown as an artist in between different cultures. Her journey began in China where her childhood was full of stories that she read and created. Her childhood was very free. She talked about how she had discovered the possibility of drawing. She began to draw a line on a wall, she was so exited of that act that she continued filling the whole wall of a living room, and continued to the next space. She was allowed to fill the entire home, that was her first site specific artwork. She is still very proud of what she had accomplished. We are very thankful to her parents for allowing this artist to be born and already understood her special talent when she was so young.

Ren takes new challenging projects very naturally, she does not  compromise to any limitations to her growth as an artist, everything is possible and she is always preparing herself for new tasks.  Maybe it is this special talent that has taken her to work with excellent teachers and in excellent circumstances.  Going through very hard competition in Chinese education system prepared her to work in universities in America. Under guidance of professor Margie Hughto, who is instrumental for new free ceramic art that brings together young sculptors and painters to work with clay without limitations at Syracuse University and Everson museum of art. This very free art culture has also been  seen in her own career as an artist and educator, both roles make her a storyteller in clay.

In Ren’s miniature gardens she creates stories of fragments, partly from her memory and partly from found objects that represent important moments of her life. By doing that she invites the viewer to experience and share her world.

Art is allegory of life as gardens are allegory of our mental world. Her stories are not fairy tales, rather her stories are more serious and more real, inviting us into a surreal world.  Her stories are open for viewers to enter and leave, they are representations of an open and free spirit.

I wish we have an understanding that there are secrets hidden in Ren’s lost gardens and I hope we are curious enough to join her journey. The challenge is to deconstruct our own lost identity. There are memories that do not leave us even in our dreams.

About the exhibition

Exhibition Time: June 16–June 30, 2018
Venue: 8 Exhibition Area, 2 Floor, Taoxichuan Ceramic Art Avenue Art Gallery

©Renqian Yang, Text and photo courtesy Taoxichuan Ceramic Art Avenue Art Gallery and Fou Gallery.

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