• C. A. Xuan Mai Ardia

11 Artists from the Jakarta Contemporary Ceramics Biennale 2016, Art Radar


Art Radar features some highlights at the 4th Jakarta Contemporary Ceramics Biennale.

Running until 22 January 2016, the fourth edition of JCCB presents 43 artists from countries worldwide who are using the age-old medium of ceramics to produce experimental and contemporary works of art.

Launched on 7 December 2016, the 4th Jakarta Contemporary Ceramics Biennale (JCCB) is directed by Indonesian curator Rifky Effendi, with the artistic direction of Asmujo J. Irianto, and runs until 22 January 2017.

Themed “Ways of Clay: Perspectives Toward the Future”, JCCB#4 features 43 artists from 23 countries around the globe and aims to “interpret history as a perspective that we can use to understand future ceramic art practices”. The Biennale does not merely look at ceramic art history as a discipline, but rather it explores the history of clay and ceramic media usage within the wider scope of art practice. Ceramics and clay are thus considered outside their categorical boundaries – or as the organisers call them, “burdens” – by seeing how the media are employed by artists from diverse backgrounds and a variety of artistic practices.

JCCB looks at how artists’ concepts and ideas connect to their diverse expressions, engaging with their individual perspectives on the medium of clay and ceramics and how these influence and determine their creative process. The organisers expand on the concept of the JCCB thus:

“Status” describes the condition and state of ceramic art practice, while also reflecting a political meaning, especially in the context of art history, theory, and discourse. Interestingly, ceramic art practice has always embodied a paradox on many levels—either as material, media or object. For instance, the ephemeral-permanent paradox of clay and ceramics; the rural-cosmopolitan between ceramic craft and ceramic design; exclusivity vs. mass production between hand- or traditional-craft and industrial products.

For this edition, JCCB has also introduced a new element: an artist residency programme that saw the participation by open call of 20 international artists for a month between August and November 2016. The residencies took place simultaneously at different locations across Indonesia, allowing artists to interact with local situations, both socially and culturally. Some of them worked in ceramics villages, while others in artists’ studios, ceramic schools and ceramics factories.

According to JCCB, the new residency programme has brought an added value to the Biennale, in that it has allowed for a stronger engagement between artists and local communities thus inspiring works that provoke a sense of deeper connection between them. In addition,

this model can help activate and enrich the ceramic art ecology by connecting artists with art education institutions, individual ceramics studios, industrial-scale ceramics factories, traditional ceramics producers, and ceramics community.

Art Radar looks at 11 artists and their works at this year’s ceramics biennale.

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8. Soe Yu Nwe (Myanmar)

Soe Yu Nwe (b. 1989) was born in Myanmar and currently lives and works in Albion, Michigan, in the United States. She graduated with a BFA from Albion College, and recently received an MFA in Ceramics from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Yu Nwe’s works reflect her cross-cultural experience as an individual of Chinese descent in Myanmar moving to live in the US. This spectrum of identity becomes central in her oeuvre, in which she portrays it as “an entity of fluid, fragile, and fragmented qualities”.

Her work represents then an emotional landscape, which utilises depictions of elements taken from nature and human body parts as interconnected, such as in one of the works on show at JCCB, where two hands touching each other are linked to other elements with a chain. Soe Yu Nwe took part in the JCCB#4 residency programme at Arskala Principle Studio, Yogyakarta, in November 2016.

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© 2020 by Soe Yu Nwe