Plastic is the new porcelain

This project was created during the 3D class for an eco-art exhibition in collaboration with HSBC Hong Kong. The art work created is now stored in the HSBC Permanent Art collection along with other famous renown artists.

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Having grown up in an Asian society, I have always been in love with the mystic of the imperial dynasties and the long history of the Chinese culture. Looking towards the imperial treasures as an inspiration, I quickly noticed the fine art of porcelain.

First founded in China, porcelain was once a common choice for utensils, houseware and even imperial treasures. The craft of moulding and firing porcelain was considered such a fine art that some kilns would only produce for the imperial family. However in this modern day, old traditions like this have started to disappear, especially with the prevalent use of plastic in all types of houseware including disposable ware.

Bringing the disappearing craft back into the present, I took recycled plastic bottles and coated them in leftover wax to resemble the Chinese Ming vases. Coloured in white, these bottles mimic white porcelain, which was created during the Tang Dynasty and was considered to be the best quality. White also represents the illusion many of us have today. Much like how the bottle is coated in wax, but is truly plastic underneath, many consumers are under the illusion that our world is doing well, not knowing the state that we are actually in.

Some bottles have been painted over and carved with coloured wax while others have printed rice paper coated under. The scenes depicted on the bottles are classic Chinese landscapes usually found on ceramics or in Chinese paintings. By making these bottles look like modern day Ming vases, I aim to not only elevate the status of cast of materials into an imperial ornament but to also make viewers realize the widespread usage of plastic in our society today. Isn’t plastic the new porcelain?

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