Guan Wei on small sculptures - Art Collector

Guan Wei, To The Origin 2, 2015. Porcelain, 46.5 x 27.3cm. Courtesy: the artist

By Emily Cones-Browne

Emily Cones-Browne speaks to Guan Wei about being shortlisted for this year’s Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize, with winners announced October 9.

Congratulations on being shortlisted for this year’s Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize. What is it like to be exhibiting amongst such a diverse range of works that feature such varying ideas and materials?

I always like to try to use different materials to express my ideas and feelings in my art works. I like challenging myself. And I enjoy the process.

Your shortlisted work To The Origin 2 was exhibited in March this year for your solo exhibition Stars To Soul at Martin Browne Contemporary. Tell us about this exhibition?

The exhibition was very successful. For the To The Origin small sculpture, the idea challenged the collectors. I think there are cross lines about ceramics and sculpture on this work.

You have said to exist in two geographical worlds, China and Australia. How do these differing physical and cultural entities affect your practice, in particular the Blue like Sky body of work that To The Origin belongs to?

This is very interesting question. The Blue like Sky and To the Origin works were made in the ceramic city of China JinDeZhen, which is a famous place for the traditional Qing Hua (blue pattern on white porcelain) China making. This Qing Hua porcelain has over a one thousand year history. So, the process used the traditional china making method, but the themes and ideas of sculpture are from Australia.

Going back to your Journey To Australia installation at the MCA in 2013, I recall walking by during the installation/painting process and being overwhelmed by the sheer size of the wall. This work is quite the opposite (literally small sculpture). Do you have a preferred work scale for exploring your ideas?

Right! I do works on both big scales and small scales. But my small-scale works are always done in a series. So, when you look at the individual work in a series, it looks small. But if you look them in a series, they are also big in scale.

What’s next on the horizon for the remainder of 2015?

I just finished a three-month artist in residence in London. Now I am working in Beijing, working on some new works. This time I want to try using Chinese symbolic silk banner doing some new works.

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