4 October 2017

Wen-Hsi Harman. A Review

Death 死亡, Earthenware, 16 x 18 x 10 cm, 2015.真正的死亡是人心感到心寒. 相信成為一個過去式
True death does not mean to pass away, instead, it means someone has a cold heat, belief becomes a past tense. 

A remote island 離島 ,25X21X3.2cm, Earthenware,Enamels, mould making. Wall piece 2016

An auspicious beginning 2014 WEN –HSI (Chen) Harman porcelain Size: 32 x 31 x 2 cm Wall piece

Breaking Through,31 x 11cm x 3.5cm. Taiwanese traditional wedding ceremony wooden mould with my porcelain chicken feet,2015.

Island, earthenware, 26 x 22 x 3 cm. 2015. Wall piece.

Survival of the clay, earthenware, porcelain, 22x 16 x 9 cm, 2015.

The wedding cake 11 x 11 x 5 cm Porcelain + Ready made box 2014 .The photo by Christina Freeth


The chicken feet dish 30 x 21 x 10 cm. plaster + ready made object 2015.The photo by Christina Freeth

Wen-Hsi Harman is a ceramic artist based in Bristol, UK. She makes a variety of art consisting of sculpture and wall work.

The central ideas that she explores relates to her identity as a Taiwanese female living in the United Kingdom and her cross-cultural experiences of living in-between two countries Taiwan and the UK.

She deals with the subject of identity for example by using her body as a way to capture her finger-marks on the clay. Additionally, she will use identifiable objects such as Bananas and Chicken Feet. For example during the time of Japanese occupation between 1895 and 1945 resources such as bananas were commonly exploited and shipped back to Japan for their own consumption. Therefore Wen-Hsi has used the banana as an image to symbolize this event in Taiwanese history. She has also used chicken feet as another way to convey Taiwanese identity. Chicken feet are commonly seen as a traditional food in Taiwan. It also relates to the people of Taiwan's attitude towards food as they do not like to create any food waste and so many parts of an animal will be eaten. She has also used other objects such as baby fingers, a traditional bamboo food steamer, a pineapple cake wooden mold as other objects to signify her identity. Some of these objects she uses are then combined together to create associations and new stories.

All of these aspects of her identity is constructed in the UK in a way that relates to Western Abstraction. The sculpture is not supposed to give the viewer a full understanding and story of what they are seeing rather small hints and signifiers. Therefore when viewing these objects it is possible to create new meanings or to be curious and seek answers about the art that has been created. Personally I find this adds another layer because if I want to discover the stories behind these objects I will need to talk to the artist and this opens up another layer of conversation.