Ahead of the Curve, a travelling exhibition of contemporary ceramics and glass from China, was developed in partnership by Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent, the Wilson, Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum, and twocities gallery, Shanghai.
It presented recent trends in contemporary studio ceramics and glass in China to a new public by showcasing the work of fifteen Chinese artists working in ceramics and five artists working in glass.
The works presented in the exhibition range from finely crafted functional wares to sculpture and conceptual art. Some contemporary Chinese ceramicists choose to work in the city of Jingdezhen in Jiangxi province, where porcelain has been made for over ten centuries, incorporating traditional techniques and materials, as well as working with local workshops. At the same time, many of these artists also look towards international influences and work in Western materials such as bone china. Explore the Contemporary Chinese Ceramics in Ahead of the Curve page to read about individual works in the exhibition and discover how Chinese ceramicists navigate tradition and the international art world to create moving, individual works.
The glass art in the exhibition offers a taste of the new Chinese glass scene that has only recently emerged following the establishment of the first studio glass departments in Chinese universities in the year 2000. Ahead of the Curve features twelve glass works that showcase the expressive range of kiln-cast glass, from abstract sculptural works to intimate landscapes and haunting models of city gates. Learn more about the glass works in the exhibition by visiting the Contemporary Chinese Glass in Ahead of the Curve page.
Shannon Guo, exhibition co-curator and Curator of twocities gallery in Shanghai, talks about contemporary Chinese artists living 'at the crossroads of tradition-modern and Chinese-Western.' You can read her essay by visiting the Artistic Context page.
To find out more about how the Ahead of the Curve exhibition came about, read curator Claire Blakey's essay Ahead of the Curve: behind the scenes.
New china from China was a symposium on contemporary Chinese ceramics and glass that took place on the 17 April 2015 at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent. Participants included exhibition artist Wan Liya, exhibition artist and Chinese glass expert Shelly Xue, and many others. To read talk abstracts and transcripts, visit the New china from China Symposium section.
To learn more about poetry workshops run during the exhibition, and to read poems written in response to objects in the Ahead of the Curve exhibition, visit the Ahead of the Curve and Poetry page.
Funding for the project which was developed over four years was supplied by Arts Council England through Grants for the Arts, with grants for research visits to China from The British Council Connections Through Culture fund and The Art Fund Jonathan Ruffer curatorial grants programme.