“In all the arts there is a physical component which can no longer be considered or treated as it used to be, which cannot remain unaffected by our modern knowledge and power. For the last twenty years neither matter nor space nor time has been what it was from time immemorial.”
—Paul Valéry, Aesthetics, “The Conquest of Ubiquity,” translated by Ralph Manheim, p. 225. Pantheon Books, Bollingen Series, New York, 1964.

“Having written poetry, and created films before moving on to work with ceramics as an art form, I’ve come to understand the unique artistic expression each medium can generate. When I’m manipulating language to write poetry or wielding recording/distributing devices to set image and sound in motion, I am faced with a kind of imaginative space in which I ultimately could only interact with my work as though they were illusions. However, my mindset changed completely when I began working in ceramics, since the inputs & outputs are different states of matter. There, I am hurled into a creative journey where the physical presence of the matter has the potential to unearth wondrous things.

Making ceramics is a process involving numerous steps. Each step demands from the artist different handlings of the material in environments that are constantly changing in humidity and temperature. I dissect each stage of the process, skipping the part with glaze and color, and focus only on the earth-clay material, specifically bone china clay, and its potential shape. Then, I ask myself how do people conjure shapes in clay, or how far can I push the limit of this material; how to maintain the material and its natural beauty and how to imprint my emotions onto it. Finally, I gather all my ceramic experiments and display them in a space, observing them under layers of light, circling them, and in doing so I can acutely feel the bodily existence in my relationship with the medium and its physical forms.

Matter exists everywhere, and there is always a ‘dispersal’ in experiencing a matter. I want to take advantage of that ‘dispersal’ to produce and review my artwork, as though there is always a way in, even in a garden overpopulated with decorations.”

Initiated by Á Space, #SoloMarathon2022 is a program dedicated to supporting emerging artists and curators with support from the Prince Claus Fund, friends and colleagues.

Text and image: Linh San
Design: Hải Lê
Translation: Nguyễn Phương Anh
Proofreading: Châu Hoàng

Linh San (b.1998) earned a bachelor’s degree in Literature from Hanoi National University of Education and has worked as a coordinator for several art spaces & art projects in Hanoi. Linh San’s works span poetry, moving images, and ceramics. Her works depict the poetic, plain, and contemplative moments of daily life. San’s poems have appeared on The Margins and various anthologies. Her short films have been screened at Hanoi Doclab, Hanoi Goethe-Institut (2019), Prohibition Bar Saigon (2020), Thai Nguyen University (2021),… and more recently in the collaborative Ring Project #1: Metaphor about Islands, exhibited at the National Museum of Indonesia (2022) as part of Jakarta Biennale 2021.

Châu Hoàng is a curator and art manager currently based in Hanoi. Her curatorial practice focuses on exploring different possibilities of exhibition making and art creation as well as examining how visual language reflects and questions diverse spheres of life. Since 2014, she has participated in various cultural and visual art projects including Skylines with Flying People 4 (Mini King’s Storage, Hanoi, 2021), Queer Forever! (Nhà Sàn Collective, Hanoi, 2015), IN:ACT NIPAF Asia WS (Nhà Sàn Collective, Hanoi, 2017), Asian In/VISIBLE Station Project (ZeroStation, HCMC, 2016-2017), etc.