M.Y Chinoiserie is an installation consisting of a series of ceramic sculptures, steel fixtures, pearls and silk. The work deals with an experience of exoticization through historical contexts and hierarchies. It aims to bring together material artifacts and traditional techniques in order to speak on the role of everyday objects, perceptions of values and aesthetical agents in racialized, gendered and commonly accepted narratives.
“Despite its relatively small surface area the room feels enormous. This impression is a result of the height of the room and the objects lining its walls, Chinese and Japanese porcelain vases – I recognize the room as a so called porcelain cabinet. The guard overseeing me informs me that the duke that used to rule over this particular European palace had acquired these vases from abroad and built this room in order to satisfy his lover, to keep her in the confines of the palace.
The utmost prestige and the exotic nature of the porcelain objects are a manifestation of the power and wealth of the duke. The more precious vases are situated lower and the less valuable ones higher on the wall, making them harder to see clearly. As I am observing the vases I discover that each one has different scenes and tales hand-painted with astounding precision, tales from elsewhere, foreign to this soil and this palace.
I wonder did the lover of the duke ever think about the reason why and how these objects ended up in this palace? Did she attempt to understand these stories stolen from across the world or did she attempt to understand the story where such objects are retrieved for the amusement of lovers?
After a while I will be asked what these stories are about. ” [work description from the exhibition catalogue, May 2021.]
M.Y. Chinoiserie was presented part of the group exhibition Kuvan Kevät, the annual MFA Degree Show of the Academy of Fine Arts, University of the Arts Helsinki, at Exhibition Laboratory in May 2021.