BY BRENDAN LEE SATISH TANG
As a visual artist working primarily within the realm of ceramics for the majority of my career, I am hyper-aware of conversations surrounding the relevance of historical practices. Ceramic objects have been around since ancient times yet are as common to us today as they were 20,000 years ago; and for the entirety of that time, the medium has walked the line between daily function and high art. My work has consistently explored conflicting notions of tradition and modernity, juxtaposing ancient, traditional forms with modern and even futuristic elements such as robotics and pop-culture, creating a visual “mash-up” of elements old and new. I enjoy the act of engaging the audience by utilizing design elements that appeal to our universal need for play. My work democratizes the discussion of culture and history, and how they influence our modern collective unconscious.
Re:Solve takes a basic historical form, the Chinese bottle vase, and reimagines it as an oversized, exploded logic puzzle, pieces fragmented, pushed apart, some lying on their sides. The visual impact of the piece is increased by elevating some of the sculptural elements so that their placement replicates the form that the object would take were it placed back together.
While referencing archival display structures found in museums, the use of rectilinear support beams elevating the fragments of the piece are also intended to be a subtle nod to the black, repeated, vertical architectural beams that are found in the Gardiner’s architectural design.
By using the recognizable concept of the “exploded” form, this work is employing what is known as the “Gestault” theory of perception. The Gestault principals are based on the understanding that the human brain is holistic in nature, and as such, will tend to organize objects and shapes into recognizable and coherent patterns. Our brains have an innate desire to “complete the picture” or to fill in gaps to create a singular or whole object in an attempt to create meaning out of chaos. This immediacy, the almost visceral pull the audience will feel to interact with Re:Solve will draw fresh eyes to the courtyard of the Gardiner Museum and will continue to promote the Gardiner in a uniquely personal fashion to its audience.