He­nan to host the coun­try’s first bi­en­nale on ce­ram­ics with 800 items

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - LIFE | CULTURE - By DENG ZHANGYU dengzhangyu@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

Long known for its porce­lain ware pro­duced in the kilns of the Song Dy­nasty (960-1279), Cen­tral China’s He­nan prov­ince is now set to hold a ce­ram­ics bi­en­nale.

Start­ing on Fri­day, the Cen­tral China In­ter­na­tional Ce­ram­ics Bi­en­nale, con­sid­ered the first of its kind in the coun­try, will un­veil the beauty of these del­i­cate ob­jects. The show will be held at He­nan Mu­seum in Zhengzhou, the pro­vin­cial cap­i­tal, and fea­ture some 800 porce­lain pieces, in­clud­ing mod­ern items and an­tiques from China and Italy.

Many ex­hibits from other coun­tries are also ex­pected to be on dis­play. An ex­hi­bi­tion ti­tled Cont(r)act Earth will show­case wares, sculp­tures, in­stal­la­tions and videos by 42 artists from 20 coun­tries.

The bi­en­nale, which runs through March 12, will also hold three other events.

Xu Rui, deputy di­rec­tor of the bi­en­nale prepa­ra­tion of­fice and a re­searcher at the He­nan Mu­seum, says at a re­cent news con­fer­ence in Beijing that half of the art­works have been spe­cially made for the ex­hi­bi­tion. Some for­eign artists have spent months in He­nan to cre­ate their pieces, which are in­spired by lo­cal tra­di­tional ar­chi­tec­ture and an­cient fig­urines that are part of the col­lec­tions at He­nan Mu­seum.

The ex­hi­bi­tion will show about 500 con­tem­po­rary art pieces made of clay to re­veal the re­la­tion­ship be­tween hu­mans and na­ture, as well as the in­di­vid­ual and so­ci­ety.

“Ce­ram­ics is an old art form across the world. It is not easy to trans­form it into con­tem­po­rary art,” Wang Huang­sheng, a mem­ber of the bi­en­nale’s art com­mit­tee, says at the Beijing event.

When it comes to ce­ram­ics in China, peo­ple ei­ther as­so­ciate it with an­tique ware or Jingdezhen, in East China’s Jiangxi prov­ince, which is of­ten called the “porce­lain cap­i­tal”, he says.

But He­nan has had a long re­la­tion­ship with the ma­te­rial as well.

Apart from con­tem­po­rary art­works, the bi­en­nale will also host an event to show­case rare porce­lain pieces of an­cient China. All the 100 pieces that have been bor­rowed from ma­jor mu­se­ums across the coun­try for this event were pro­duced in the fa­mous five kilns named Jun, Ru, Guan, Ge and Ding.

Three of the kilns were once lo­cated in present-day He­nan and made wares only for Song roy­alty. Some tech­niques used by these kilns have been lost.

Tian Kai, di­rec­tor of He­nan Mu­seum and or­ga­nizer of the bi­en­nale, says porce­lain was first found in Cen­tral China. Un­earthed relics show that about 10,000 years ago ce­ram­ics were used in Cen­tral China in daily life.

Cen­tral China wit­nessed a pe­riod of in­no­va­tion in porce­lain, says Tian.

“That’s why our mu­seum is hold­ing the bi­en­nale.”

He­nan Mu­seum got fund­ing for the bi­en­nale from the cen­tral and lo­cal gov­ern­ments.

To show­case China’s porce­lain an­tiques, yet another event will be held dur­ing the bi­en­nale, where nearly 140 items from the In­ter­na­tional Mu­seum of Ce­ram­ics in Faenza will be dis­played. The an­tiques are thought to have been pro­duced be­tween the 10th cen­tury and the 20 th cen­tury.

The Ital­ian city of Faenza is known in Europe for its pot­tery.

Tian says the bi­en­nale plans to in­tro­duce dif­fer­ent Western cities with a his­tory of ce­ram­ics to boost cultural ex­changes.


The in­au­gu­ra­tion of Musee d’Or­say in Paris in 1986, fea­tur­ing French Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Mit­ter­rand. The mu­seum cel­e­brated its 30th an­niver­sary over the week­end.


He­nan Mu­seum will host the Cen­tral China In­ter­na­tional Ce­ram­ics Bi­en­nale start­ing from Fri­day.

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