Dimensions: Variable (18 small book-sized sculptures)
Brief biography: b. 1961 Hong Kong. Lives and works in Hong Kong
Annie Wan Lai Kuen is a Hong Kong-based ceramic artist. She takes everyday objects as her subject matter and transforms them into beautiful objects injected with meaning.
Lost in Biliterate and Trilingual comprises 18 small porcelain sculptures, each taking the form of a dictionary. The work originally exhibited at the Harmonious Society exhibition at John Rylands Library, Manchester, curated by Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA) as part of Asia Triennial Manchester 2014. The title of the artwork refers to the language policy adopted by the Hong Kong government after the handover of the territory from the United Kingdom to the Chinese in 1997, which has meant that Cantonese, English and Mandarin all feature in Hong Kong political and daily life. In order to create this work, the artist took moulds from her own dictionary and those belonging to her friends; the resulting casts capture the bent spines, battered corners and creased covers of the books, indicating their wear and tear, as their owners continue to rely on their dictionaries. However, in porcelain form, these sculptural books cannot be opened and remain mute, perhaps suggesting the limitations of translation and communication, or acting as monuments to the analogue world. This juxtaposition combined with the fragile medium of porcelain raise the issue of present and future identity for the artist, whilst evoking nostalgia and prompting consideration of our own relationships with inanimate objects.
Annie Wan Lai Kuen holds a Master of Fine Arts from Chinese University of Hong Kong, a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts from Chinese University of Hong Kong, and a Higher Certificate in Studio Ceramics from Hong Kong Polytechnic University, in addition to a Diploma of Design. She is currently Assistant Professor of the Academy of Visual Arts of the Hong Kong Baptist University.
In 2019, Wan will be exhibiting in a group show at Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale, Japan. Previous exhibitions include: Zaan Bak Fo, Cheung Hing Grocery Store, Hong Kong (2018); Composing Stories with Fragments of Time, Karin Weber Gallery, Hong Kong (2017); Collecting Moonlight, performingART project, Oil Street Art Space, Hong Kong (2017); Evolving Images – Modern Hong Kong Printmaking, Sun Museum, Hong Kong (2017); What’s In Store?, Salford Museum and Art Gallery, Manchester, UK.
Gallery representing artist: http://www.karinwebergallery.com/artists/annie-lai-kuen-wan/