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Ah Xian

China, China – Bust 57

2002

China

Porcelain with low-temperature yellow glaze and relief

H. 15 1/2 x W. 15 1/2 x D. 7 1/8 in. (39.4 x 39.4 x 18.1 cm)

Asia Society, New York: Asia Society Museum Collection, 2002.37


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Ah Xian’s “China China” series was inspired by the artist’s desire to use Chinese culture as a source of inspiration to create new cultural forms. The title of the series refers to not only a geographical location but also to western associations to the artistic medium of “Chinese porcelain” through its pervasive historical connotations with China, and specifically Jingdezhen, due to the country’s role as the primary producer of export porcelain to the West from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries. This relationship to place is further emphasized by the fact that the artist uses Chinese models exclusively to fashion his busts. The traditional patterns that decorate the surface of the sculptures are largely taken from pattern books used by commercial porcelain factories. Bust 57 is inscribed with traditional Chinese landscape motifs. Since 1999 the artist’s porcelain sculptures have been exclusively fabricated by the artisans working at the kilns in Jingdezhen, Jiangxi Province. This collaboration blurs the boundaries between the applied and fine arts. More recently he has expanded to working with traditional cloisonné, lacquer, jade, horn, and bronze decorative arts techniques to create his figures.

Ah Xian

born 1960 in Beijing, China; lives and works in Sydney, Australia

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