Christine Shimizu

Honorary Director, Asian Art Museum of Paris - Cernuschi Museum Former Curator, National Museum of Asian Art - Guimet Museum, Paris Former Chief Curator, National Museum of Ceramics, Sèvres

The Blanc de Chine competition is an opportunity for artists from all over the world to highlight a refined material in a contemporary spirit; it also pays tribute to the decisive role played by the city of Dehua in the worldwide development of porcelain. Indeed, statuettes and devotional objects from Dehua, known in the 18th century Europe as Blanc de Chine, adorned the royal palaces of the continent and inspired the further development of porcelain in those countries.

The competition encourages the renewal of porcelain forms and techniques. After a period of significant decline of interest in porcelain by contemporary artists and the public during the 1950s to the 1970s, when stoneware was preferred, porcelain has made an undeniable comeback on the artistic scene. It has become a medium that expresses ideas or conveys a personal perception of the world. Sculptural, biomorphic, conceptual and design forms question our concerns and reflect our contemporary aspirations. These forms also challenge our imagination. In order to respond to their aesthetic inquiries, some artists choose to leave the material in the form of a biscuit, unglazed, with a natural matt effect whereas others apply a shiny translucent glaze creating a unique shimmering. Few artists juxtapose these two techniques on the same piece, playing with the contrast of materials. The discovery of these new creations is an enchantment to the eye and the mind.

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