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Exhibition of Modern Ceramics by Zhang Jitao opened in the Hunan Museum

2019-07-10 10:22
Author: Li Ye, Guo Sanjuan

On the 10th of July, 10:00am, the Hunan Museum hosted the Opening Ceremony of its newest exhibition: “Reditus & Veritas – Exhibition of Modern Ceramics by Zhang Jitao” in No.2 special exhibition hall. The exhibition showcases Jitao Zhang’s ceramic artwork, revealing his “Ceramic Living Art” ideology. This exhibition also celebrates the artist and his family’s contribution to public welfare. As early as 2014, the famous Taiwan ceramicist once donated 75 sets (99 pieces of artwork) of his art to the Museum. Currently, we have completed the arrangement, collection, protection and research works on this donation. Therefore, all of his generous donations are now exhibited to the public. The exhibition will last till 8th of August, 2019.

Zhang  Jitao, born in 1931 in Changsha, Hunan Province, currently resides in Taiwan. After moving to Taiwan in 1949, he attended and graduated from Military Technical School and Military Foreign Languages School. After Zhang  Jitao’s discharge from the military in 1971, he worked in American Merchants General Electronics Company, but he realized that this was not what he wanted in life, thus he quitted soon after. In 1976, he learnt under famous Taiwanese Ceramicist Lin Baojia in the art of ceramics, and from then on he has been devoting his body and soul into ceramics. Zhang has always followed the ideology of “Ceramics Living Arts”; his arts fused the past and the present, connecting beauty and functionality; most of his artwork are based on Chinese traditional containers, which he then integrates with modern ceramics’ design and functionality, along with glazes of his personal style. This clearly portrays the meaning of ceramics living: A fuse of innovation and aesthetics.

The theme of this exhibition is “Reditus & Veritas”, that is, “Return” and the “Truth”, both of which have been the consolation for his homesickness, and also a reflection of his creative mood. The exhibition is divided into three parts: “Free and Easy”, “Containers of Virtue” and “Thousand Colors of Glaze”, so as to showcase his exceptional pottery skills and a deep cultural sense.

The first part “Free and Easy” is comprised of mostly arts on ceramic and porcelain plates. They are a small part of his ceramic artworks. He has masterfully combined ceramics and painting, showcasing his diverse yet unique artistic styles. Take “An Impression of a Grotto” for example, a conspicuous Buddhist element is shown through the skillful usage of paints.

The second part. “Containers of Virtue”, is mainly comprised of ceramic models and clay figures. This type of creation is considered Jitao Zhang’s most influential artworks. Be it a sculpture of animals, or a container that have the functions of different wares, almost all of it are designed to pique everyone’s interest. They carry a strong sense of traditional culture, bringing about a message of prosperity and positivity. The viewers would find that the pieces share a sort of intimacy with them, easily connecting with the artist himself. Artworks such as “Strive for the best” (《力争上游》), “Harmonious Marmots” (《和谐鼠》), “Far-sighted” (《高瞻远瞩》), all reveal a positive attitude in life and an imagination for the future through the use of characteristic and artistic creation style.

The last part, “Thousand Colors of Glaze”, showcases different types of glazes, including Jun(Chun) glaze, Ruby  Red glaze, five colors of overglaze (A type of overglaze, the five colors include yellow, green, white, red and black.) and many other colorful glazes. The artworks are both artistic and practical. Most of Zhang’s work is made with enamel glaze (A glaze material made out of melting powdered glass with substrates to form a vitreous layer of protection over the ceramic.). Artworks such as “Vibrant Clouds” (《彩云飞》), “Beauty” (《美人醉》), “Joy of Ducks” (《鸭趣》) and many more showcase an exceptional decorative glazing skill, as well as the  adroit employment of the enamel glaze, allowing the art pieces to turn out more natural and dynamic.