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World-Class Ceramist Exhibits in LIULI China Museum

Hand-in-hand, strolling through a Tadao Ando-esque corridor, Loretta H. Yang and Christine Fabre could very easily be mistaken for sisters. Pouring over each exhibit piece that night, the two artists quickly plunged into a deep back-and-forth. Paying close attention, one might begin to wonder if their incidental resemblance is more than skin deep. That is because Yang and Fabre, two birds of a feather, share in the same struggle and speak the same language.


“That feeling of toiling with our hands to create something from our hearts and placing it in the kiln only to open it and find broken pieces… that’s a bittersweet feeling Christine Fabre and I both face.”


On September 1st, a LIULI partnership with world-class contemporary art center Galerie Capazza brought the likes of ceramic virtuoso Christine Fabre to our LIULI China Museum for the opening night of her first solo exhibit in Asia. The exhibit, titled From Visible to Invisible: Faith Born from Fire, will extend through January 6th of next year.

 Fabre’s ceramics are widely celebrated in Europe, exhibited in half a dozen countries and publicly collected in Ville de Villeurbanne, Grassi Museum, Liepzig and Musee de Sevres among other institutions. Originally inspired by Song porcelain of the 13th century, her early works imitated their ice-crack patterns and traditional glazing before eventually deviating toward what is considered a truly international contemporary style

Tired of conventional views of elegance, Fabre began aspiring toward a more genuine expression. She combined minimalist aesthetics with the wabi-sabi philosophy in a return to our primitive roots as human society. The versatile craftswoman uses “raku” and a unique feather-and-woodchip technique to create raw, unadulterated emotion. Many of her pieces (spheres, Egyptian canopes, and African envols) speak with a disturbing-yet-refreshing sincerity. It shows the shocking beauty and elegance that can be found in the primitive and unsophisticated.

But why ceramics? And why in a glass museum? Yang accedes that ultimately, ceramic—just like glass—is nothing more than just a medium. And lacking in spirit or life, that material will be nothing more than just a material. But ceramic and glass are both mediums born from fire. They both endure a long and tiring process of trial and error that test the artist’s endurance—oftentimes resulting in nothing more than pools of sweat and broken artworks.


“To face limitations, fundamentally, is the motivation for all creativity.” -Loretta H. Yang


Reflecting on this struggle, Yang shared her thoughts: “That feeling of toiling with our hands to create something from our hearts and placing it in the kiln only to open it and find broken pieces… that’s a bittersweet feeling Christine and I both face.” This creation process is the common denominator for Yang and Fabre. It is a journey of self-discovery and discovery of life that is brimming with both joy and suffering.

There is much more to art than just art. Chang Yi points out, “creativity, in terms of living in the present… stands for more than just creative demonstration.” In Fabre’s own words, working as a ceramist has given her strength and allowed her to look straight into life’s sufferings.

We invite you to experience in this journey together. Whether on a trip to our LIULI China Museum, Shanghai or online, see for your own eyes Christine Fabre’s ceramics—born from fire.

 

From Visible to Invisible: Faith Born from Fire

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Artist/Founder Loretta H. Yang leads a team of experienced artisans to create arts that honor the richness of cultural heritage and value.

Step No. 1: Design and sculpting

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Step 2 of the process involves coating our original clay sculpture in silicone. Layer after layer (3 to 7 layers) is fastidiously coated to produce a negative mold, a crucial step in capturing the prevision of the sculpture. Each layer must dry completely before additional layer is applied, thickness must be uniform to prevent leakage of wax. Once complete, the clay is removed to reveal a negative silicone mold.

Step No. 2: Silicone molding

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Pour molten wax into the negative silicone mold.

Step No. 3: Infusion of molten wax. Fill wax into a negative mold.

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Once wax has solidified and cooled, release the wax form by carefully peeling back the silicone mold. Like a butterfly molting, the silicon is shed to reveal a positive wax form.

Step No. 4: Shedding of silicon mold to obtain the wax form

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A careful refinement of the wax sculpture. Because every microinch and subtlety plays its own role in the grand scheme of beauty. Our artists refine the wax mold to its final perfection.

Step No. 5: Wax form refinement; removing imperfections

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The wax mold is placed on a wooden plank in a metal container and plaster is poured and solidified. Embedding wax form with fire-resistant plaster.

Step No. 6: Coating the wax sculpture with plaster to form a refractory mold

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Wax is steamed out of the plaster under high heat yielding a negative plaster mold.

Step No. 7: Removal of wax with steam—the essence of the “lost-wax” process

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Liuli ingredients are created through unique firing and processing of glass. Color and size appropriate pieces are placed within the plaster and fired.

Step No 8: Choosing color; kiln firing

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Fire and melt. Under intense heat, a new vision of transparency and clarity is born.

Step No. 9: Re-firing at 1,400 degrees Celsius

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Extreme patience and care are necessary when removing the plaster to prevent damage.

Step No. 10: Removal of plaster mold

When the art pieces emerge, our masters step in to carefully chip away the plaster mold. Like excavating fragile archaeological relics, one false move and you're left with broken shards.

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First comes die-cutting - smoothing the crystal down to the last microinch. Rough polish, removal of excess support, refinement and fine surface polish with a high-speed fabric wheel.

Step No. 11: Retouching of details; burnishing and polishing

Our artist refines and re-polishes each and every detail yet again.

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An etched number on the base of each piece indicates its limited edition and reminds us to never stop creating. After the engraving - an official LIULI artwork is born.

Step No.12: Final inspection; etching of serial number; packaging