Hsian Jung Chen is a Taipei-based ceramic artist inspired by common experience. Hsian’s been working away over the last couple of months in our ceramics studio. We caught up with him this week to find out what he’s been working on ahead of his open studio at FAC, Thu 7 – Mon 11 Jun.
When did you realise you wanted to be an artist?
I never set out to become an artist, everything headed down that path naturally. I’m not professionally trained in fine arts and ceramics but I’ve always been interested in art and design and always really enjoyed creating things ever since I was a child. When I was in London, I went to a pottery workshop in my neighbourhood and I loved it. I’ve kept making ceramics ever since. Through the internet and social media my works have reached a far wider audience. This has brought about some great opportunities and has led to what I am doing today.
What did you study?
I completed a Bachelor of Advertising in Taipei and have a Masters in Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship from Goldsmiths College in London.
What kind of art do you make?
My inspiration comes from common experiences of people in daily life, like going to the fruit shop, traditional markets, the worship culture of Taoism and traditional Chinese medicines. I like to reinterpret these experiences through my ceramic practice and mixed-media installations. I tend to distort and twist common themes purposely in order to invoke resonance with the audience. Simultaneously, I seek to disturb and challenge the audience’s accustomed way of thinking. Viewers are welcomed to interact and interpret my work intuitively based on their own life experiences. Visually, I like to purify the thoughts and feelings, and rebuild them with geometric forms and colours. I often combine my ceramic works with ready-made objects and make 2D graphic works to go with my sculptures.
What are you currently working on?
I am working on ceramic sculptures inspired by my time in Australia. I’m inspired by my favourite food here, the avocado, as well as the sights along my jogging route on South Beach, Fremantle Markets and chats with the locals. As a newcomer and from an outsider’s point of view, the life here seems like a dreamy bubble but looking closer, I start sensing this is questionable. I’m trying to reflect millennial depression and the effects of capitalism with specific reference to Fremantle and WA in my works.
What can we expect from your open studio?
I have a range or completed works and some are still in progress, including a wall built up with 90 avocado-inspired ceramic bricks, playful geometric natural scenes made with ceramic slabs and a large-scale found object installation.
What’s up next for you when you head home?
I will have an exhibition with a print artist Meng-Yu Wen in Taipei this September. I plan to show some new works and also the works I made during the residency at Fremantle Arts Centre.
Open Studio | Thu 7 – Mon 11 Jun 2018
Artist Meet and Greet | Sun 10 Jun | 1–5pm
The Asialink Artist Residency is an innovative, flexible, program that promotes cross-cultural dialogue by providing Australian and Asian artists with opportunities for reciprocal exchanges with artists from Taipei Cultural Foundation, Taiwan. FAC has been involved with the program for eight years.
The residency project is a partnership between Asialink, AIR Taipei and Fremantle Arts Centre, City of Fremantle.