The Esque Collection explores the idea of Chinoiserie. Laura White is interested in Chinoiserie decorative objects of display, such as pre 19th century ceramics, porcelain and furniture. Thinking about what Chinoiserie might mean now both in China and the UK, she has been exploring the relationship and trade of crafted and manufactured objects between China and Europe, and the idea that Chinoiserie historically was described as something that was authored in the west and yet represented China, where cultural misunderstanding was translated into the production of decorative objects and other decorative material. It is this sense of misunderstanding and misrepresentation through cross-cultural fertilization that produces extraordinary objects all over the world, such as replica plastic Chinoiserie tea sets sold in Turkish bricolage shops in east London, to replica miniature Gucci handbags sold in Shenzhen, China.
Taking the form of a collection, her Chinoiserie objects, pull from a wealth of readymades – cheap plastic imports from China, European Chinoiserie and global reproduced souvenirs to create sculptural/ornamental centre pieces, each displayed on their own podium. Their identities are in crisis, but each are bound by an intuitive formal logic and configuration.
The Dean’s Chapel, Worcester Cathedral. 8th January – 10th February, 2019
In siting ‘The Esque Collection’ at Worcester Cathedral opens up new dialogues around these works, the multi-coloured low fi sculptures set off against a back drop of sophisticated stain glass windows and ecclesiastical architecture raises questions of value, both in terms of materiality and context, while also finding common ground, such as making comparisons to other objects located in the cathedral (religious artifacts), that also reflect cross-cultural histories and ambitiously project and imagine themselves beyond their material make up.
Exhibition organised by Meadow Arts
Couriers of Taste, Danson House, Bexley Heath. London. 1 April – 31 October, 2013
Couriers of Taste explores the relationship between international trade, global consumerism and cross-cultural influences. through drawings, photographic prints, maps, masks, installations and sculptures, the exhibition also reflects on Danson House’s past as a place built for leisure and decadence, which is steeped in the history of 18th-century trade, with links to a slave-run plantation in the West Indies.
The artworks on show will take visitors on a journey from China to Africa and to fantastical places of the imagination. Each room, found on the top floor of the house, has a theme: territories, contemporary chinoiserie, the trader, consumerism and an opium den.
Curated by Day + Gluckman. Featuring work by: Gayle Chong Kwan, Stephanie Douet, Ed Pien, Meekyoung Shin, Susan Stockwell, Karen Tam, Laura White, WESSEILING and seeds collected from Ai Weiwei’s spectacular work Sunflower Seeds which filled Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall.
SINOPTICON, Plymouth: Saltram House National Trust, Plymouth Arts Centre, Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery & Plymouth College of Art, 28th April – 7th July 2012
A new multi-sited exhibition curated by Eliza Gluckman, featuring the work of 13 international contemporary artists, including new residencies and commissions will open in Plymouth in April 2012.
The exhibition is being produced in partnership with National Trust’s Saltram House, Plymouth Arts Centre, Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery and Plymouth College of Art Gallery.
Sinopticon is a long-term project investigating ideas and themes of a contemporary chinoiserie in contemporary art. The 18th century term, ‘chinoiserie’, arose from the mania for Chinese artefacts that erupted in the seventeenth century transforming taste and aesthetics in the West forever. Now China is back, upsurging as a country of major economic and political impact – and with it a new wave of chinoiserie for the twenty-first century. SINOPTICON looks at chinoiserie afresh in the context of contemporary art and incorporates design, display, desire and frippery alongside politics and trade, authorship, interpretation and cultural misunderstanding, fantasy, escapism and fiction. SINOPTICON includes an extensive research and development phase, a symposium, residencies, new commissions and a national touring exhibition.
Suki Chan (UK), Gayle Chong Kwan (UK), Stephanie Douet (UK), Christian Jankowski (Germany), Isaac Julien (UK), Tsang KinWah (HK/China), WESSIELING (UK), Grayson Perry (UK), Ed Pien (Canada), Meekyoung Shin (Korea), Karen Tam (Canada), Erika Tan (UK) and Laura White (UK).