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Art Works: Yajie 'Sophie' Jiang

13 October 16 words: Art Works
"I don't tell the clay how to move, rather I 'listen' to it and feel how it wants to form"
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This is a series of small sculptures made of porcelain and stoneware. Essentially, they are built by hand – the simplest technique within ceramics.


I’m very interested in materials, as well as the relationship between resources and the artist. For this piece, I used porcelain as my base material for the first time. Porcelain, for me, is a very special material. Firstly, it derives from my culture; I’m very familiar with the porcelain arts in China. Secondly, it’s a material that’s so relevant to our day-to-day life.

The most fascinating thing to me is the individual properties of porcelain – you get an instant response from it. Simple gestures create shape and texture, and I’m fascinated with the latter. A recent article in the Ceramic Review states that working with clay has powerful therapeutic properties; improving focus, enabling expression and reducing stress. Perhaps this is why I prefer to work with porcelain and focus on the perception of the clay body.

I studied in Reunion Island as part of an exchange, and it was during this time that I began to experiment with porcelain. The nature there inspired me a lot: the plants grow freely, budding large and fast into all sorts of bizarre shapes. I felt that I could communicate with nature through this material, as clay comes from soil.

During the making process, I don’t tell the clay how to move, rather I ‘listen’ to it and feel how it wants to form. There is always a dialogue between me and the material, and I intend to follow the movement of the clay, rather than controlling it. When it’s complete, I don’t entirely feel that I created the artwork, instead, the sculpture had an effect on me.

I’m part of the art group Parallel – a multicultural artist collective whose membership is from Taiwan, China, La Reunion, Brazil and the UK, and continues to expand. It was established in 2015 by students on the MFA Fine Art at Nottingham Trent University, and the collective are now residents in Primary Studios.

I’m currently an MFA fine art second-year student at Nottingham Trent University, after completing my BA in Decorative Art in China. Studying as an international student has made me all the more aware of the limitation of language; it is difficult enough to explain your artistic intentions using your first language. My art allows me to communicate freely. Through the making process I am able to communicate without words, and focus on material and bodily perception. Moreover, art is never intended for a narrow audience, or limited perceptions. I believe art work should create a connection with its audience, too.

Parallel Artists Network, Crisis Interlude, Thursday 20 - Friday 28 October, 10am - 5pm, Sneinton Market.

Yajie ‘Sophie’ Jiang on tumblr

 

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