IMPERMANENCE: Keqing Chen

28 June - 8 July 2017

3,000 hand-crafted ceramic flowers, each unique, will be on display during Central Saint Martins graduate Keqing Chen’s first solo ceramics exhibition.

Curated by Yusi Xiong and co-curated by Carlie Chang, key events of Impermanence include a late opening on 30 June, an in-depth discussion with the artist, and performance on site 3-4pm on 1 July. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated and narrated catalogue.

Featuring sculpture, mixed-media work, video installation, and sketches, the show presents alternative concepts for thinking about individuality, society, and religion, through the intriguing exploration of ceramics. Highlights include the immersive installation Samsara (2016) consisted of 3,000 flowers of various species hanging from the ceiling folded into a hexagon, and experimental video installations Impermanence (2016) and (2017). Ceramics artist Chen has a participatory practice where she encourages audiences to dissect the installation Samsara and own a piece of the work.

Being a non-religious person for most of her life, Chen’s journey to Jordan, Israel, and Tibet in 2015 has influenced her perception of the relationship between life and religion, and inspired her to explore her personal connections with the Buddhism ideology of the six realms. In her work, Chen embodies the inevitable decay of all matter and existence, as well as all unpredictabilities in life. By selecting ceramics, a more ambiguous material comparing to others such as wood and metal, Chen embraces the uncertainty of life in production of Samsara and her other work. Such aesthetic is complemented further as Chen draws on the ephemeral aspect of flowers, which she has been familiar with from her past experience of flower arrangement. In Chen’s eyes, flowers symbolize human race: at first sight, they look similar to one another, yet each holds uniqueness to some extent regarding texture, shape, size, and personality, and the gradual falter of these one-of-a-kind flowers also reflect on the cycle of life and death for mankind and other existence.

Born in 1992, Chen first studied at the Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon Foundation Diploma in 3D Design, where her preference for ceramic originated and evolved, before she began her further studies specialising in Ceramic Design at Central Saint Martins in 2014.