The art of the UNDEFINED
In Shanghai, artists give new life to discarded glass and ceramics.
At Corning, we celebrate glass not only for what it holds, protects, and makes possible, but for its own magic. The subtle and dramatic, simple and complex, delicate and strong.
Six artists explored these contrasting qualities using discarded Corning materials and products for the exhibition “My Flower Doesn’t Have a Name Yet.” Sponsored by Corning, the show opened Dec. 3 at the Shanghai Museum of Glass and runs through April 9, 2023.
This exhibition serves as a capstone event for the United Nations’ International Year of Glass celebration, in which Corning played a pivotal role.
At the opening ceremonies in February, Jeff Evenson, Corning’s chief strategy officer, told a global audience at the Palace of Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, how glass can solve some of the world’s most pressing problems.
For April’s National Day of Glass in Washington, D.C., Wendell Weeks, Corning’s chairman and chief executive officer, shared why glass is vital to human progress.
This Shanghai show honors the beauty and possibilities of glass.
Created using the theme of “UNDEFINED,” these combinations of science and art aim to ignite sparks, expand understanding of sustainability, and encourage viewers to break boundaries and go beyond their limits. Something we at Corning aim to do every day.
Meet the artists and their works.
Born in 1993 in Changde, Hunan province, Chinyurin graduated from Tama Art University in Japan. She is now based in Jingdezhen and has contributed to multiple international exhibitions. Chinyurin’s mixed media installations use materials such as glass, candles, and cement. She also experiments with performance, photography, and video. In 2021, she established East Ocean Dragon Palace Human Office, her independent glass studio.
Colored glass cullet, reinforced steel
This piece is a chair with no support and a jagged, uncomfortable “cushion” made of steel and broken glass. The chair subtly creates a thought-provoking and tense mini-theater when paired with the piece Feast. The title of the piece is not a casual Untitled, but an intentional blankness and stillness conveying an inability to communicate and a sense of helplessness after encountering numerous real-world situations.
Born in 1986 in Beijing, Meng Du earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2008 from the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, and her Master of Fine Arts in 2013 from the Rochester Institute of Technology. She works in Beijing and has exhibited in China, Europe, and the United States. Her interests include nostalgia and the complexity of memory. She received the 2018 Saxe Emerging Artist Award and is the youngest artist to present a solo exhibition at the Shanghai Museum of Glass.
Will Be Fine
Glass cullet, optical fiber, glass waste, ceramic substrates and filters, old suitcase, mixed media
An object of fascination emerges out of the luggage. Coincidentally, the particularly "tea-dyed" porcelain filter exhibits signs of burning coal. The so-called "pollution-producing" coal and the ceramic filter—which helps clean the air—create an intriguing combination. The ceramic substrates and filters function as a miraculous channel, transforming the discarded broken glass and sintered glass masses into optical fibers that pass through the ceramic filter's gap after being polished. Like a memory's thin halo, they appear as inconspicuous bright specks under the light. The situation will be OK.
Born in 1994 in Hanzhong, Shaanxi province, Ji Huang graduated from the University of Washington in 2017 and earned his Master of Fine Arts from the Royal College of Art in 2019. He is a guest lecturer at the Nanjing Art Institute and divides his time between Shanghai and Toronto. His works display his distinctive blend of Eastern and Western cultural perspectives and a constant examination of the relationship between glass and various media. A Stanislav Libenský Award recipient, he has contributed to multiple international exhibitions.
Glass, 3D printing resin, ceramic substrates and filters
A continued exploration of the clash between Chinese and Western cultures, the artist discovers that the ceramic filter can present a wonderful visual experience of "virtual reality" under the light of a special angle. The contradiction within is thought-provoking. Meticulous cold processing and cutting techniques transform the ceramic filter into a "scholar's object" in traditional Chinese culture, emulating a Taihu stone's thin, wrinkled, leaky, and transparent look. It sits atop an "antique shelf" made of 3D-printed bioplastics. A "multi-precious pavilion" blends East and West, evoking a full sense of technology.
Born in 1993 in Sichuan, Songlin Li is a poet, director, and artist. He received his undergraduate degree from Tsinghua University School of Fine Arts in 2014, and his master's degree from Rhode Island School of Design in 2018. His works have been featured in exhibitions across China and abroad. Though he creates in multiple mediums using an array of materials, he always begins a project with a human-centered idea, exploring themes like life, death, loneliness, happiness, and individuality.
Loneliness in the Bottle
Glass beads, life sciences vessels, epoxy resin
Poetry is integral to the artist’s process. Here he disassembled his poems on the theme of "loneliness" into various glass balls and then reassembled them using waste plastic bottles. From people in his immediate vicinity, he also gathered notions of "loneliness" and sealed them in plastic bottles. The viewer can either leave the loneliness of thoughts and feelings alone, or creatively mix them, composing a singular "poetry city."
Born in 1990 in Qixia, Shandong province, Chenyang Mu earned an undergraduate degree from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 2013 and a graduate degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2019. She currently works in Beijing and exhibits internationally. The connections between glass, shape, and sound are her primary interests, exploring emotions from the intersection of visual and auditory sensations. In 2019 she received the Ron Desmett Memorial Award for Imagination with Glass from the Pittsburgh Glass Center.
Garden: Dazzling Dull Time
Glass cullet, plastic film, sensor, bulb light
Part of the Garden series, this work echoes the "My Flower Doesn't Have a Name Yet" exhibition title. Each person's garden of the heart is diverse but distinctively their own, whether overgrown with weeds or overflowing with flowers. The outside of Dazzling Dull Time is made of leftover plastic film twisted into a white "jacket" and hung here. Go closer and one can discover a surprise: the new "screen." Constructed from broken, discarded screens, this new “screen” reflects the colorful light and barely peeks out from the "jacket." The implication? There is mystery in everything that is "within."
Born in 1989, Wendi Xie now lives and works in Shenzhen and Dongguan, China. She received her Master of Arts from the Royal College of Art in 2012, and a Bachelor of Arts from the China Academy of Art in 2010. Glass is her primary medium, deployed in sculpture, installation, public art, and painting. She has participated in multiple international exhibitions. In 2019, she launched an ongoing public art project: Encounter with Stray Cats: A Painting to Exchange a Story.
Glass cullet, waste electric furnace wire, metal nails, universal wheels
Glass and metal are key to this piece. All the waste materials used were previously industrial and daily tools. The artist dislocates the materials from one another, breaking them from their original molded properties, from "mold" to "mold" again. When used as a display for insertion, the glass is split and re-fused into the shape of a pallet that transports further items. When used as a tool, the glass transports a "metal sculpture" made of scrap stainless steel tubes and re-welded scrap electric furnace wire. The typical uses of common industrial materials are concealed, purposefully switching up the components' identities to give them a sardonic, poetic significance. The typical function gets shaken away with a "Duang" sound and emerges with an unexpected face.