Monday, September 13, 2010

Wayne has finally arrived in Jindezhen

Hello again,

I have finally arrived in Jingdezhen after a short but fantastic stay in Shanghai. It is just AMAZING here, and in not even two whole days I have already begun experimenting with one of the local porcelain clays and have purchased five beautiful glazes from 'the glaze shop' to do some tests.

But first........before leaving Shanghai Jessie and I spent three more full days immersed in Chinese art, food and culture, both traditional and contemporary. It is a vibrant and exciting city!

On a visit to the Shanghai Art Gallery I was able to view four separate exhibitions. The largest was a retrospective of works by a famous Chinese painter. Very traditional style of ink work, 'misty' landscapes, 'still lifes' and magnificent paper and silk scrolls. I discovered a couple of days later that the artist had recently died, and had been considered a National treasure. I really felt it was a privilege to have seen such an extensive survey of his work, especially as I could never imagine something like that ever coming to Australia. Two others were solo exhibitions of quite contemporary works by much younger Chinese artists, painting mostly, and the fourth, and smallest show was of very traditional paintings and prints.

Jessie and I stumbled across a couple of interesting independent Galleries during our walks around the city and the odd piece of public art! (but sometimes it was hard to distinguish if it was really public art or a sponsorship opportunity..advertising is HUGE, as in scale and sheer volume, and constantly in your face here!)

The pictures I have attached are from the Shanghai Museum's porcelain collection. I think I took more than 100 pictures of some of the most exquisite ceramics I have ever seen. My mouth was constantly wide open and I must have said 'wow' or 'oh my god' 200 times or more. It was just beautiful.....every piece! (Bruce I promise to put together a powerpoint presentation!)

On our last day in Shanghai Jessie and I went the the opening of the Shanghai Art Fair. It was three whole floors of a massive exhibition centre full of exhibitors and galleries, mostly from China and surrounding Asian countries, but also from the USA, Berlin and France. LOTS of crap, but also some amazing paintings and interesting sculptures and ceramics. One whole section was just to display the work of emerging artist. Unfortunately none of the information in that hall was in english, nor were the artists there to talk to about their work, which was a shame because some was quite spectacular, and as you would expect, the most experimental. I also took lots of pics!

Throwing caution to the wind, Jessie and I also found a couple of really good restaurants and places to eat and drink. We both became addicted to Watermelon smoothies and caught the Metro to a juice bar on the Peoples Square every day for our fix. We ate Shanghai Bok Choy with Shitake Mushrooms (finally!) the juiciest Dumplings, amazing Steamed buns, BBQ pork pastries, delicious sweet breads from 'Number 1 Bakery', the best Hamburger and French Fries I have had in ages, smoked Duck (still with head attached), Snake Beans with giant chunks of the sweetest garlic, LOTS of chilli and so much more!

A very early start on Thursday morning to make it to the airport by 6.30am went without a hitch.......and Shenzen Airlines had no trouble in delivering me, AND all of my luggage safely and in one piece to Jingdezhen on time!

The people here at the Pottery Workshop are wonderful and friendly and the food has been AMAZING TOO! I just know these next six weeks are going to be filled with exciting and memorable experiences.

I promise to send more pictures soon, and another update with what has been happening here some time over the next few days.

Best Wishes, Wayne xx

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