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Paradox 坎離 Ceramic art by Monica LIN Lan A solo exhibition 19.8 - 10.9.2023



It was around 2014 when I fell in love with Chinese ceramics from the Tang and Song periods after reading through the History of Chinese Pottery and Porcelain by Ye Zhe Min. Among all the beautifully crafted pieces, my favourite is Meiping, which is also known as plum vase - dainty mouthed, broad shouldered, and narrow footed. Its grounded presence and refined, subtle demeanour are captivating. Since then, I have attempted to construct my first meiping and realized that throwing it on the wheel has actually been quite challenging. I describe myself as a doer and refuse to give this up. I made a series of white porcelain meipings covered with paper patterns and clay slip for my first solo exhibition in 2019. Feeling that my Meiping creation has not reached its full potential in terms of form and the patterns, I kept practising during the pandemic until my entire studio was filled with a variety of Meipings. In this repetitive process, I attempt to seek the balance between the contours, the tension from the clay-slip paper, and all the nuanced subtleties in the vessel. This is my version of Meiping. My Meiping is born!

I intend to depict the harmonious yet paradoxical beauty of two dualistically opposing concepts. This paradoxical state has been evident throughout my entire process of creation, for example, the rigidity of the throwing phase juxtaposed the relative spontaneity when applying the clay slip. As I desire to create a polished, jade-like surface, I choose using Dehua white porcelain clay, a material that is technically far more demanding than the usual clay suitable for throwing. I therefore have to improve my techniques continuously in order to overcome the limitations of this material. After numerous attempts to hold the clay-slip with different paper materials, I have eventually chosen the most fragile Xuan paper, also known as rice paper. The Xuan paper’s high level of absorption has made it easily torn when wet, so this step has to be completed swiftly in one go, resulting in a pattern that is more lively and random. After bisque firing, the paper will disappear, leaving only traces of the slip, which I have to spend a long time polishing, removing the parts that are prone to flaking while preserving the pulp’s original texture to the best of my ability.

As I spend hours poring over my unpolished works, the process reminds me of diviners from the Shang and Zhou Dynasty who inscribed questions onto turtle shells or animal bones, burnt them, then interpreted the resulting cracks as heaven’s answer to their questions. Like those diviners, I too am seeking answers through my craft. This has become the inspiration behind my exhibition’s Chinese title “Kan-Li”. This term is a combination of two of the eight trigrams in the I Ching (Book of Changes). The characters "坎" (kǎn) represents the trigram for water, whereas "離" (lí) represents the trigram for fire. The two elements are essential to the crafting of ceramics though they will both disappear in the final product. At the same time, these two characters also resonates with me on a personal level as I have experienced the “坎” of encountering a creative block and the “離” of losing a friend In the recent years. By kneading these experiences into my works, I hope such hardships can transform into a unique beauty.


大約在2014年,我讀了葉喆⺠先生的《中國陶瓷史》,從而愛上中國唐宋時期的陶瓷。其中最讓我著迷的就是梅瓶— 小口、寬肩、窄足,有其獨當一面的氣勢,與典雅含蓄的風姿,一下子擊中了在⻄方審美觀中成長的我。於是那一年,我嘗試在拉坯機上製作了第一隻梅瓶,才發現拉製梅瓶是件頗具挑戰的事。但我生性執著,未有放棄。到2019年,我為自己首次的個展製作了一組覆蓋紙紋泥漿的白瓷梅瓶,展覽結束後,我一直在反思和構想下一步的創作,但深感這組梅瓶系列未達極致,無論是瓶子的形態還是紙紋泥漿的表面都還有很大的進步空間。疫情三年期間,工作室裡漸漸堆滿了各式各樣的梅瓶,在這樣不斷的重複中,瓶身線條的微妙之處、紙紋佈局的張弛有度都日漸明朗起來: 這是一隻由我而生,關於我的梅瓶。

我試圖呈現的是一種二元對立但和諧的美感,這種二元對立的狀態貫穿整個創作過程本身: 拉坯階段的嚴謹,與施加泥漿時的從容隨性相對。瓶身採用的德化白瓷土並不是最適合拉坯的材料,但它經過打磨和燒製後的質地如玉,是我想要的樣子。我需要提高技術,來克服材料限制,這成為我製作瓶身時主要的挑戰。 我用了不同的紙張材料來試驗紙紋泥漿,最終選擇了相對脆弱的宣紙,因其吸水性強,很容易破爛,要這一步做到一氣呵成,就充滿了隨機性,相對其他材料,採用宣紙而產生的紋路更顯得活潑。素燒後,宣紙已消失,只留下泥漿的痕跡。我會用很長的時間慢慢打磨,把容易剝落的部分去掉,同時盡量保留泥漿覆蓋時的狀態,這打磨過程令我自覺如同商周時代的占卜人,以火灼燒龜甲或獸骨,使其產生縱橫交錯的裂纹,從中讀取天意。



Meet the Artist 藝術家分享

Artist: Monica LIN Lan 林嵐

Time: 19.8.2023 (Saturday) 3:30 - 5:30pm

Venue: The Gallery by SOIL

Shop 102, 1/F, Barrack Block, Tai Kwun, 10 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong


Language: Cantonese (Supplemented in English) 以廣東話進行

This is a Free-of-Charge event 費用全免


Monica LIN Lan 林嵐

Born and raised in Shanghai, Monica LIN Lan received her BA from Beijing Film Academy prior to her apprenticeship at the Pottery Workshop Hong Kong. She received the Prize of Excellence of “Tea Ware By Hong Kong Potters 2018” Competition organised by the Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware and her work has been in the permanent collection of the Museum. She held her solo exhibition in 2019 titled “Monologue” at the Pottery Workshop Hong Kong. Her recent work draws inspiration from the domestic potteries in the Tang and Song Dynasty and hinted with the aesthetics of Chinese calligraphy. Monica’s ceramics have been frequently exhibited in Hong Kong and Mainland China. The most recent one was in Paris in 2022.

林嵐生於上海,於北京電影學院修讀學士課程, 後在香港樂天陶社學習陶瓷製作, 2018年獲香港茶具文物館舉辦「陶瓷茶具創作」比賽優異獎,並於2019年在香港樂天陶社藝廊舉辦了首次個展《獨白》,其作品被香港茶具博物館以及多間團體和私人收藏。她愛從唐、宋的工藝中尋找靈感,而且熱愛中國書法,她近年的作品也展現出這些美學。她經常在香港和中國多地參展,最近更於2022在巴黎展出作品。


Paradox V

Monica LIN Lan

Dehua Porcelain, burnished, partially covered with slip and glaze

H310mm x D170mm

Paradox II

Dehua Porcelain, burnished, partially covered with slip and glaze

H290mm x D150mm

Paradox XI

Dehua Porcelain, burnished, partially covered with slip and glaze

H270mm x D170mm

Her I

Dehua Porcelain, burnished, partially covered with slip and glaze

H155mm x D315mm

Sans Le dire IV

Japanese Black Clay, partially covered with slip and glaze

H240mm x D200mm


Contemporary Crafts Centre - Empowered by SOIL.

We feature contemporary craft-based artists whose work embraces the increasingly blurred boundaries between art, craft and design.


Shop 102, 1/F, Barrack Block, Tai Kwun,

10 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong

Opening Hours:

12nn - 6pm Tuesday - Sunday

Enquiry: 5916 9266 / 9559 3908


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