My Blue China The Colors of Globalization

First Published 5 June 2015

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“If globalization required a banner, it would be blue and white, the colors of the United Nations. They could serve as a wellspring of cultural globalisation, then stand as a universal symbol of harmony between peoples.”

Thirteen artists from around the world, all renowned for their work with blue and white porcelain, have been brought together by international curator Laurent de Verneuil, to explore the theme of cultural globalization in the upcoming exhibition My Blue China, The Colors of Globalization. Presented by the Fondation d’entreprise Bernardaud at the Bernardaud Porcelain Company in Limoge, France, the exhibition will be open June 11th until 21st November 2015.

In the introduction of the catalogue de Verneuil explains the evolving narratives and cultural identities that have been richly layered onto this medium that first traveled West along the silk and spice routes, and was later enthusiastically adapted by Europeans in the 18th century. The complexity of cultural histories now inherent in blue and white porcelain are taken to an new level of provocative expression by the artists who wrestle with very wide ranging cultural and political topics, (from tattoos, to cultural hegemony, to our memories, to Japanese video games).

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Since its inception in 2002 the Fondation d’entreprise Bernardaud, directed by Hélène Huret has held a major contemporary exhibition each summer with the purpose of showing ” visitors the rich and varied modes of expression used for ceramics all over the world”.

Here are a few of the outstanding objects that will be on view with comments by the curator.

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Translated Vase (TVW6), 2013,  Joseph Hu, Private collection, Philadelphia © Joseph Hu

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Manga Ormolu Ver -4-o-k, 2010,  Brendan Tang

Ceramics, mixed media © Brendan Tang

Vases, plates and blue-and-white pieces of all kinds are combined with futuristic or prosthetic techno-pop forms. Fragments of Japanese mangas emerge from ceramic pieces, offering a very contemporary version of chinoiserie.

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Temptation – Life of Goods No. 2, 2010, Sin-ying Ho

Porcelain, hand-painted cobalt pigment, high fire under-glaze decal transfer, glaze © Sin-ying Ho

Sin-ying Ho’s sculptures bear witness to what sociologist Marshall McLuhan called the“global village,” i.e. the world today is unified by media and information technologies.Her work is particularly autobiographical and characteristic of an artist that was born and raised in Hong Kong, emigrated to Canada and lives in New York.”

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Trolldom, 2015, Mareo Suemasa,

Porcelain ©Mareo Suemasa

“Katsuyo Aoki’s wall creations draw on the references and esthetic codes from the sources of Japan’s Imari tradition, which the artist combines with images of Japanese pop culture taken from contemporary mangas or video games. The result of this hybridization illustrates Japan’s position in the arena of cultural globalization.” Laurent de Verneuil

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Trying to Keep Up With My Blue China, Take Away Plate, Peckham Library, 2015, Jayne Lloyd
Ball point pen on polystyrene © Jayne Lloyd

Lloyd’s research has led her to explore the use of reminiscence in older people with dementia. Her interest bears on daily sensory experiences. What makes a cup of tea special? Is it because the teacup is beautifully designed
or made of fine porcelain? Or is it simply because that’s how we remember it?

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