The Esque Collection

2012. Mixed media. Individual works various sizes, 15 x 15 x 20ht cm - 35 x 35 x 80ht cm. Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery.

Exhibited as part of SINOPTICON 2012, Plymouth: Saltram House National
Trust, Plymouth Arts Centre, Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery & Plymouth College of Art.

Go to Individual Works (see menu) to see details of each work.

When asked to explore the idea of Chinoiserie for SINOPTICON, I became interested in Chinoiserie decorative objects of display, such as pre 19th century ceramics, porcelain and furniture. Thinking about what Chinoiserie might mean now both in China and the UK, I have been exploring the relationship and trade of crafted and manufactured objects between China and Europe, and the idea that Chinoiserie historically was described as something that was authored in the west and yet represented China, where cultural misunderstanding was translated into the production of decorative objects and other decorative material. It is this sense of misunderstanding and misrepresentation through cross-cultural fertilization that produces extraordinary objects all over the world, such as replica plastic Chinoiserie tea sets sold in Turkish bricolage shops in east London, to replica miniature Gucci handbags sold in Shenzhen, China.
Taking the form of a collection, my Chinoiserie objects, pull from a wealth of readymades - cheap plastic imports from China, European Chinoiserie and global reproduced souvenirs to create sculptural/ornamental centre pieces, each displayed on their own podium. Their identities are in crisis, but each are bound by an intuitive formal logic and configuration.


A new multi-sited exhibition curated by Eliza Gluckman, featuring the work of 13 international contemporary artists, including new residencies and commissions will open in Plymouth in April 2012.

The exhibition is being produced in partnership with National Trust’s Saltram House, Plymouth Arts Centre, Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery and Plymouth College of Art Gallery.

Sinopticon is a long-term project investigating ideas and themes of a contemporary chinoiserie in contemporary art. The 18th century term, ‘chinoiserie’, arose from the mania for Chinese artefacts that erupted in the seventeenth century transforming taste and aesthetics in the West forever. Now China is back, upsurging as a country of major economic and political impact – and with it a new wave of chinoiserie for the twenty-first century. SINOPTICON looks at chinoiserie afresh in the context of contemporary art and incorporates design, display, desire and frippery alongside politics and trade, authorship, interpretation and cultural misunderstanding, fantasy, escapism and fiction. SINOPTICON includes an extensive research and development phase, a symposium, residencies, new commissions and a national touring exhibition.

Suki Chan (UK), Gayle Chong Kwan (UK), Stephanie Douet (UK), Christian Jankowski (Germany), Isaac Julien (UK), Tsang KinWah (HK/China), WESSIELING (UK), Grayson Perry (UK), Ed Pien (Canada), Meekyoung Shin (Korea), Karen Tam (Canada), Erika Tan (UK) and Laura White (UK).