A Certain Idea of Complexity / A Certain Idea of Simplicity @ N3 Gallery Beijing

Ryan LaBar / Li Chengyu / Jeremie Thircuir / Tong Xindi / Xin Yaoyao

Curated by Jérémie Thircuir

2023.9.20 – 12.20

For artists, few challenges rival the task of creating a unique artistic language, a signature style that resonates deeply with audiences. This visual lexicon, which renders an artist’s work instantly identifiable, becomes even more arduous to construct when it comes to ceramics. The intrinsic intricacies of this medium, coupled with its inherent unpredictability, heighten the difficulty of the endeavour.

On a first approach, ceramics might appear as a quite straightforward medium. We’ve all spent our childhood squeezing dough, shaping it into basic forms or odd creatures. However, beneath this apparent simplicity lies the medium’s inherent finickiness. Once placed in the kiln, subjected to temperatures of 1300 degrees Celsius, we step into a realm of chemical and physical unpredictability—shifting, warping, and fracturing. Ceramics is a school of patience and the medium creates an inertia that pushes the artist towards the known and the quasi certain making innovation rare and precious.

Whether it is formal or conceptual, innovation in ceramics is more than often linked with a technical one. Achieving a very simple yet unique style in ceramics necessitates a journey marked by a countless number of failures and refinements. This exhibition wants to delve into the intricate interplay between technical and technological innovation, experimental artistic practice, and visual language. It wants to highlight the complexity required to achieve a quintessential style or on the other hand show how a very simple idea can lead to a rich and complex universe.