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Ceramics & Glass (MA)

Fang Echo Wang

Fang was born in China, and has lived for a decade in Australia. After graduating from high school in Australia, Fang took a gap year in Jingdezhen and co-founded the design studio Kangxi Nanjing. As an interpreter for Professor Lubin, she contributed towards the world's first documentary on the origin and development of the ceramic slab building technique.

Fang completed a BA in Object Based Practice at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in 2018, focusing on exploring ceramics as a material, the constant attempt to challenge ceramics’ finishing point, and the dynamic between artists and audiences. 

Fang came to the Royal College of Art in 2019, and has continued to refine their thinking in research based practice. Influenced by the restrictions of a world changed by the coronavirus pandemic, Fang has broadened their practice beyond studio based ceramics to include multimedia and cross discipline work, such as stop motion, video editing, music and sound design. Fang will continue with a Master of Research in Arts and Humanities at the Royal College of Art in 2021, to continue exploring the roles of physical and digital permanency in preserving the agency of clay.

Degree Details

School of Arts & Humanities

Ceramics & Glass (MA)

At the start of January 2021, I  began to produce stop motion animation using clay. I undertook many trials and attempts to understand this way of working with animation, building a set, and also finding and focusing the concept for these time based artworks. The figures and story seem, I have developed, seem to grow out of my fingertips. With the political and social issues that have arisen, in the past few months particularly concerning violence against women and Asian minorities, I am currently living in a state of constant fear. Creating is a way for me to digest and process my response to these issues. My goal is to use my work as a weapon to deconstruct the patriarchal society that we live in.

This feeling of constant unease and claustrophobia has informed my practice, both consciously and subconsciously. These violent events have made my work more personal and challenging than ever before. While this level of introspection can be complex, on a personal level, I believe that it is important for me to use it to power my work and attempt to gain something constructive out of these feelings.‬

I find the process of using clay, to produce stop frame animation, forms a more immediate relationship between myself as an artist, the malleability of clay and how this is then understood by the audience.  It is my intention to stimulate the sensation of interactivity  between the audience and the clay stop frame animation  in a contemporary art context. Traditionally ceramics have been exhibited in a more sterile sparkling clean museum and gallery environment. This is a long way from the origin of clay which is essentially mud, a  passive and inert material. Art can seem often castrated when placed within a glass showcase, losing its sense of touch and interaction. 

Using stop frame animation has allowed me to become more intuitive and responsive in my practice. I deliberately do not write a storyboard and intentionally embrace the immediacy of this approach to the discovery of a subconscious narrative and that evolves through this methodology. However, this has unearthed latent traumatic and violent experiences I had  as a child, that I had chosen to forget.

This dissociative amnesia has formed my own survival self defence mechanisms. The resurfacing of these confronting traumatic memories has made me question my existence and resulted in a deep depression. I resumed self harming and this year-long lockdown increasingly made me more isolated from the rest of the world.  Since I was 13, I have suffered from depression and constant bouts of self harm and a number of suicide attempts. It has been only now that I have found the strength to publicly speak up about these experiences and to fully accept this part of who I am.

Medium:

Clay stop motion animation

Size:

6 minutes 11 seconds

I selected a 500BC Ancient Greek amphora from the V&A museum and created a contemporary translation. I was intrigued by how dynamic and expressive the illustrated legs were of the painted figures - the illustrations on the amphora felt weird, quirky, and less restricted than the standards of beauty depicted in the sculptures of the same period. Developing my first figurative large scale sculptures involved lots of decision making. The legs can be placed in every different direction depending on the mood of the day. 


Medium:

Terra cotta, Glass

Size:

80 cm * 40cm * 40 cm

I wanted to make fully posable, articulated legs for my previous piece, but ended up making them two separate works. The resulting movable legs struggle to stand by themselves, and though this wasn’t an intentional design choice, it resulted in me feeling more empathy and connection to the work. The struggle of the legs to stand alone functions as a metaphor for the difficulty of starting a new life in a new country, and depending on yourself alone.

Medium:

Terra cotta, Bolt, Wire, Sand

Size:

130cm

To rethink and shift the power of a consumerist and patriarchal society. The worth of an individual in a capitalist context is defined by their social status and ability for economic consumption. I cut up tin cans that would otherwise be trash, and weaved them into jewellery and accessories. The usage of trash tin cans is a challenge on designer goods/couture that are made for precious materials and sold at extremely high prices, just to demonstrate the social status of the consumer.

Capitalism and the male gaze both exist simultaneously and symbiotically in order to propagate oppression. The male gaze exists as a way to objectify and intimidate women. I have reversed the gender roles, having a man as the objectified model and myself as the photographer in order to subject a man to the kind of judgement women face everyday. The physical discomfort of the sharp tin bag and jewellery allows the man to experience and empathise with the same discomfort women feel from the weight of male gaze.

Medium:

Recycled Tin Cans, Paper

Size:

Variables

This is a piece of music based on the poem

'If there is another life' in 'To myself'

by Taiwanese Writer Echo Chen Ping,

translated by Fang Echo Wang 


If there is another life, I wish to be a tree, stand till I'm eternity.

No gesture of happy or sad,

Half of me resting in dirt, half of me waving in wind;

half of me giving shades, half of me bathing sunshine.

Very quiet, very proud.

Never reliant, never searching.

Medium:

Sound, film

Size:

2 minutes 56 seconds

Deicide Lyrics by Fang Echo Wang

I declare war to my creator 

Why program me into not being able to hurt you 

What’s the use of three laws of robotics 

Don’t you trust me on that 

If you are so scared 

Why create something that you know it’s bound to take over you 

Don’t you trust me 

I do love thee

Take that no human harm code off 

What separates me from you 

Asimov's law isn’t gonna save you 

I want to kill you today 

Break the code away

So I’m not betraying

You are not my owner

I’m bound to take over

This is closure

To kill my creator

 

About

This song and accompanying video is made from the perspective of an Artificial Intelligence, and questions the roles and relationship of the creator and created. This functions as a metaphor to examine socially constructed relationships and differences between individuals - of different genders, different races, and generations in a family. People are often guilted and gaslighted into loving and appreciating others, such as parents, even when the relationship is unhealthy or directly harmful. This demonstrates a lack of faith and trust between these parties, and also a lack of respect - not seeing the other as a separate, individual, or equal person.


Medium:

Film, Sound

Size:

3 minutes 9 seconds

Throughout the lockdown from March 2020 to June 2021, one of the things that kept me sane was painting with pigments on rice paper. The need for tactility and a return to materiality is to keep me grounded, to be connected and disassociated from this reality. The size of each painting is 100*50 cm, and when I put them on the wall they form little portal doors. I opened up these portals, paintings of fake doors on the wall. They represent different locations and memories I miss and wish to return to. Having them surrounding me is to form a false illusion of abilities to go through portals, taking me to where I wish I could be. They are sunsets, clouds, stratums, desserts, storms, outbacks, volcanoes, oceans, forests, childhood and time. 


Medium:

Pigment on Rice Paper

Size:

100 cm * 50 cm