Ceramics Today
Home | Articles | Featured Artists | Contact | Search
Featured Artist  

Shao Ting-Ju
Taiwanese ceramist.

Into the warmth of the universe ,2002SHAO Ting-Ju is a Taiwanese ceramist and book illustrator. She has won several awards and grants, including honorable mentions at the International Competition for Contemporary Ceramic Art in Faenza, Italy in 1994 and 2001, a first prize at the Republic of China Ceramics Biennial in Taiwan in 1996 and a McKnight Foundation Artist Fellowship residency at the Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA in 2004.

Her narrative mixed-media installations, incorporating comical, hand-built multiples of the human figure and birds, critically address social and environmental issues and the human condition. Since 2002 the human figures have also been slip-cast, the process referencing industrial techniques. S. is also involved in book and journal illustration.

Shao Ting-Ju's works 1991-2004 have been published in monograph form by the Taipei County Yingge Ceramics Museum, ISBN 957017992-9. Please visit her homepage http://homepage.mac.com/shao36/ to see more of her works.

The respected and the destroyed are mixed at the end of the century What's wrong, 2004 When we care to listen to each other, time is no longer such a pressing .....

Artist's Statement

Portrait"Being a participant in this universe, I have been asking these questions ever since my younger days; Why was I born? Why am I here? For the very reason that I am strongly interested in our species, my work in ceramics has always used the sculpting of human figures to reflect the artists concepts.

I recorded a single shape to explore the suffering and imprisonment of souls and bodies, as well as the desire to free the minds. Using different combinations of clay figures, I demonstrate the tension, hostility and dependence of people with their society, as with the harmonious or destructive relationship between man and nature. Enlarging the limbs of the human figures is to project a freeze frame record of the environment and myself. It is a continuous recording of my realization of my position in this universe, what I touched and what I saw. Recently, I became very interested in the destination of souls and have tried to explore this.

According to the bible, God created the image of man from earth. Every individual is thus unique and precious. My ceramic works are all handmade, whether they be an individual figure, or hundreds of birds, or indeed anything else. Each piece retains its own uniqueness while they may share an overall similarity. I have chosen wood fired kilns whenever possible wherever I travel. During firing, my work was placed in the Noborigama or Anagram at random, with some pleasant surprises in the result. This reflects the fact that we cannot choose our sex, race or nationality in advance when we are born. Each element is unique, this constitutes the universe and the nature of our existence.

At Chopin`s funeral, I heard Mozart's requiem-2In recent years, people have abused the resources in this world. A lot of damages have been done to nature, and that resulted in a lot of disasters of magnitude. This is a warning signaled by Mother Nature to us. For this very reason, the exhibition in Kyoto, Japan, 2002, was meant to be a reflection of the respective relationship between nature and us, with birds representing Mother Nature. For a bird that is manifested to 100 centimeters, and a human figure shrink to 10 centimeters, their relative ratio is a reminder for us who are the guests passing this world. The work was titled " The Seventy-Seven Gentle Warnings', and its theme was represented by seventy-seven birds positioned in a circle around the small human figure in the middle. The number seventy-seven is taken from the bible, in which Jesus once told Peter to forgive seventy-seven times. Effectively, it is telling us to be generous in our forgiveness, which is what Mother Nature has been to us as well.

'Meeting the beautiful green light of the universe "is another work, represented by a human figure of 68 centimeters. He was looking at the small Angel positioned in the middle of his palm with a mutual understanding. Only when people can understand this intricacy of wonders created by God, and through his own humbling, then we can achieve a balance in the geo-cycle with Mother Cycle.

For the past 18 years, the clay figures always took on a small head with a fat body. The toes protruding from underneath. This is a reflection of the greed in this polluted world, people have lost their innocence, and all the efforts were used to think of obtaining small advantages. The size of the head became relatively small in this disproportion of energy. Yet, the toes are a remainder of the true nature of ourselves, one that cannot be hidden and should be drawn back into focus.

The solo exhibition at Maronia gallery, Kyoto, Japan,2002The use of multimedia is also a reflection of the contrast between material substance and the concept of time, just as the physical existence and the time of existence of all life on earth. The final disappearance of the physical body mirrors the fact that one day, the ceramic bird or figure can also be broken. The use of iron and wooden frame denotes the eternity of time. The use of feathers, which could represent the feather on the back of the angels, or the little wings on the angles; in turn draws on the symbolic representation of our faith in trust, hope and aspiration. While there are something in this universe which does not take on a physical form, our faith will remain the striving force that seek to maintain a balance with the universe.

The title of the work also constitutes an important poetic element; it is in itself like a narrative poem, revealing the in-depth meaning of the ceramic art."

More Artists of the Week
More Articles

© Ceramics Today