Pan Wangshu is a Chinese ceramicist and sculptor born in Hangzhou in 1987. Her work evokes a colorful, psychedelic, decadent world we can only see her translations of; colors, textures and fragments of scenes that are probably commonplace inside the day to day of Wangshu’s world. Adventurous and funny characters are the star protagonists of her work and, despite personifying smiling beings that burst with color, Wangshu’s villagers seem to want to tell us something else, something that probably only these characters know.
Wangshu’s current work is mainly based on the analysis of the parent child relationship under late East Asian Confucian social structure. The study of it’s typicalities, as well as her own personal metaphors. Wangshu describes herself as a Chinese artist and a funny woman with two fat cats and a husband. Her delicate and exquisite use of ceramics to create works of art makes it almost impossible to believe her career began only a few years ago. Two years, to be exact.
Her predilection for ceramics is due to the material and sensorial qualities that sculpture offers. Working with ceramics, making a sculpture, evokes the purest moment of creation; it emulates a creator God who, from their hands, creates, transforms and destroys worlds with skill derived from tactile sensitivity. Unlike other visual art mediums such as painting or drawing, sculpture allows for a more pure and earthly interaction with the work. For Wangshu, the opportunity to touch and feel her work is essential. Along with the infinite possibilities she sees existing in the materials, textures, colors and shapes.
Her inspiration comes from both personal experience and process. The forms and characters… protagonists, come right out of real life. Her process consists mainly of drawing sketches and then choosing the shapes, colors, clothes and props that will be part of the final pieces. Sometimes she takes photos that serve as sources of inspiration. Mainly: Mickey Mouse and street toys (since they have vivid colors and dynamic and inspiring expressions). Not every source of inspiration is perfect, many of these muses are poorly painted or eaten by time. This transience is extremely interesting to Wangshu.
Her pieces primarily consist of characters pulled out of some larger narrative, the content of which is probably related to her experience growing up. Her life mote a series of complex symbolic constructions, requiring many characters. Always they tell a story.
We really enjoy the depth of Pan Wangshu’s work, it fills us with brilliant vivacity that at the same time refreshes. Sweetened, knowing it is from the kind of person who enjoys the simple pleasures of life such as caring for and studying her plants, paying attention to the colorful interesting details of the world, and enjoying her cats.