ChengOu Yu


My making process attempts to combine contemporary Western approaches (working towards innovation and originality) with the influence of Chinese traditions in ceramics (a high level of respect for historical forms, using repetition and technique to reach the ideals of “quality” and “beauty”).

Exploring and generating new forms based on the use of plaster mold and slip casting (a path associated with mass production), my process is inefficient yet flexible in several ways. I attempt to make changes by manipulating different elements. Treating the cast piece as a foundation, pinching from hand or pushing with tools, slicing through then reattaching with a slight shift. I love the way that form reacts to every manipulation and the contrast between the rigidity of the molded object and the human touch. I shape and reassemble the existing mold parts, shifting and turning over one side or another. By interchanging the flexible parts, the form has been reinvented. It has become a game that introduces exciting elements of play into the making. Each one is unique in some way with its own simplicity yet potentially more complex when they are presented as a group.
I am exploring the possibilities of using visual language to investigate ideas about relationships, feelings, and situations within my personal environment. As I continue to play with complexity and simplicity; the scale of the work starts to change. My recent work, “Habitat” is a multi-piece ceramic installation. Working with molds allows me to design individual pieces as single elements. The potential for these elements to become modular and go beyond a functional scale is generating exciting possibilities. By multiplying the form, they are assembled either by stacking or in a horizontal orientation. My practice shifted from single to multiple with the intention of creating two-dimensional pattern under a three-dimensional form.

I am Inspired by historical vessels, repetitive pattern as well as modern architecture. I attempt to translate those impressions into reductive forms. The use of light and shadow offers a subtle movement throughout the visual surface represented by assembled individual forms. The entire structure suggests  relationships and boundaries between the individuality and the whole of the community. My goal is to create and balance a dialogue through the use of the vessel and the new environment that is created.