Exotic Dreams and Poetic Misunderstanding - Performance Dinner


Exotic Dreams and Poetic Misunderstandings - Performance Dinner aims to create a platform for communication where new and old social issues can be brought up in a courteous yet effective manner. The project constitutes of porcelain artworks inspired by the Eurasian Maritime Silk Road, food and a thematic concert.

The curiosity and imagination of “the other side of the world ” is universal to human beings in ancient and modern times. Maritime activities shaped the histories of the East and the West. Ocean was the first mediator that bridged cultures and connected people.

The guests come together for a friendly meal during which the dinner table becomes a platform for the exchange of thoughts. When the food is eaten, the symbolism and expressions of the artworks on the gigantic dinnerwares are discovered.

The project started in 2015 and since then, new concept and artworks have been continuously developed and expanded through performance dinners and exhibitions. The project aims to reach out to groups or segments in our society that are not necessarily familiar with visual arts. Through out this project I also like to examine and experience the use of Soft Power in both a cultural and political exchange.

Photography: Are René Synnevåg

I Never Saw the East Coast Until I Moved to the West ( porcelain Installation and performance)


Photos documented from the opening of Høstutstillingen

Photos documented from the opening of Høstutstillingen.  Guest performer: Haavard  Kleppe

Exotic Dreams and Poetic Misunderstanding


Exotic Dreams and Poetic Misunderstanding project that combines my experience in making experimental porcelain sculptures, and the vision of communicating past and present Westen seafaring cultures and East/West trade in a contemporary way.

Project description:

1. My Personal Experience and Understanding of ‘Exotic dreams’ and ‘Poetic misunderstanding’

Through my upbringing in China my grandparents read Scandinavian mythology to me. Thus I became besotted with western fairy tales about the sea. As a child in China, I considered Europe to be an exotic world partly due to the political dichotomy that separated the West from the East. It was during that time my ‘exotic dreams’ and ‘poetic misunderstanding’ of the West fermented and grew. I formulated the concept of ‘poetic misunderstanding’ as a result of attempting to explore the theme of ‘imagination’ and the cultural curiosity the West and the East had about each other. Herein, the histories of the West and the East as embodied in the production, export and interpretation of porcelain are treated as complex cultural-cognitive processes intertwined with my own subjective place-to-place experiences. Practically, I wish to elucidate these histories through contemporary art. My project seeks to illuminate and transform the concepts of ‘exotic dreaming’ and ‘poetic misunderstanding’ through metaphoric imageries of sailors’ tattoos of the West, and blue and white paintings on porcelain of the East. The project also depicts the moment when poetic misunderstanding from both West and East cross over each other simultaneously and cultural exchanges occur – often at a subliminal level.

2. World of Metaphors and Reconsideration of History

Imagery of the ocean embodies idealisation of the unknown. People relate to the ocean in various ways. The colour blue, which is alluding to the ocean, is prevailing in both tattoos and Chinese porcelain. Europe encountered China through porcelain. However, elements of ideology and symbolism associated with the East were not easily accessible through the familiar cobalt blue pigments and hand-painted imagery. As the porcelain market grew in Europe from the 16th century onwards, the production and exportation of porcelain facilitated a form of cultural transaction between China and Europe.

By the beginning of the 17th century the export of Chinese porcelainto Europe reached its peak. The Portuguese who had established their base in Macau, were the first to bring Chinese porcelain out of China through India through the Sea Silk Road, parts of East Africa and finally to Lisbon where products were assembled and shipped northwards to the rest of Europe re.The late 17th century was characterised by an increased level of cultural communication on a global scale. On these grounds, the commodification of stories of the Orient in addition to a new range of popular media that romanticised the Far East invoked general interest in exotic items such as Chinese tableware. Thus the Chinese export porcelain as a connection with the exotic offered Europe ‘a bite’ of the exotic world

European importers would bring European made sketches or models of tableware forms over the Atlantic, around the Cape of Good Hope and across South- east Asia to Guangdong harbour and then further on to Jingdezhen, where they requested Chinese artisans to replicate the designs in porcelain and decorate the final products with Chinese patterns. Although Chinese artisans did not have any knowledge of the western table culture that this tableware was a product of, for instance not knowing how a sauceboat functioned, they took up the challenges to create moulds and to paint patterns based upon these models. This cultural exchange based on the cultural appropriation of physical models and selected Chinese patterns took place in such a way that the exported items embodied the Europeans’ interpretation of China’s ‘exoticness’ rather than cultural and social insight at an emic level.

It is from this interchange of cultural fragments I derive the concept of ‘poetic misunderstanding’. In my point of view, the artist actively engagesin the social life of the place he lives in. I kept considering the relations between myself and immediate society and culture, in addition to how an artist should come to terms with these relations. I also thought about how I experienced the differences and similarities of both cultures and how these can be bridged through my art practice. I look forward to discovering new perspectives on related topics that go beyond the horizons of my own cultural epistemology.

80 cm ø

80 cm ø

80 cm ø


80cm ø

A container of sailors’ archives, the tattoo bone encapsulates memoirs and romances of their world voyages from one harbor to another. It bears secrets that cannot be told, romances that cannot be continued across oceans as they bid last farewell to their harbor lovers.

To arrest the sailors’ memories, the artist tattoos them deeper into the skin and onto the bone and heart.

Time dries those tales and romances written on seawater into salt, and the artist puts it in the bone-shape jar, along with exotic spices collected from remote countries.Salt whispers scattered words from those distant memoirs, every time you put it in your diet. Through this piece of art, the artist wishes to share her own moments of having lived in different worlds, the salt she had tasted and tales she had heard.The porcelain is a paradoxical material that bares fragility but last forever, cheap but dear. It made in China and been shipped to Europe by flowing the Maritime Silk Road.

Exotic Dreams and Poetic Misunderstanding project -The silk Roads (upcoming)


Solo exhibition at Kunsthall Grenland, opening April 5th, 2019. The project also includes a residency and production period in Porsgrunn this fall of 2018, in collaboration with Porsgrunds Porselænsfabrik. The solo exhibition is entitled ‘Exotic Dreams and Poetic Misunderstandings -The Silk Roads’, which will be the first part of a new body of work.

About the project:

It was on the Silk Roads that East and West first encountered each other through trade and conquest, leading to the spread of ideas, cultures and religions. From the rise and fall of empires to the spread of Buddhism and the advent of Christianity and Islam, right up to the great wars of the twentieth century, the Silk Roads as a link shows —how the fate of the West and the East have always been inextricably linked to each other. In the late nineteenth century, this sprawling web of connections was given a name by an eminent German geologist, Ferdinand von Richthofen that has stuck ever since: Seidenstraßen'-the Silk Roads.

Those pathways serve as the world´s central nervous system, connecting peoples and places together, but lying beneath the skin, invisible to the naked eye. Just as the anatomy explains how the body functions, understanding those collections allow us to understand how the world works. And yet, it has been forgotten by mainstream history.

And today the Silk Roads are rising again—unobserved and overlooked by many. With the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative-in other words, a New Silk Road, a region and series of connections re-emerging in front of our eyes. It is with curiosity that one follow China´s rise as the new economic, innovative and knowledge-producing superpower. The influence of China on international conditions increases in scale and complexity worldwide. The West, however, finds it difficult to imagine such a scenario. We see the Silk Roads everywhere, in the Middle East, in Russia.

It´s the most important single development going on in the world today, and it´s not necessarily a good thing, and it´s not necessarily a bad thing. This means, in order to understand and participate in the future, we must take part and position our self and contribute to the new environment. For better,and for worse.

In Norway, the geo-political sensitive area Kirkenes has already felt the impact from the New Silk Roads. I’m invited to participate with my projects in the Barents Spektakel Festival 2019. During the festival, Kirkenes will transform into the “World’s Northernmost Chinatown”. The backdrop for the concept is the multifaceted increase of Chinese investments in the city, the locals’ interest to collaborate with the Chinese and geopolitical power fight of the Arctic and so forth.

I’m contributing to the festival with works in from the series ‘Exotic Dreams and Poetic Misunderstandings’, consisting of porcelain sculptures in an interactive installation. The project started in 2016 and since then, new concept and artworks have been continuously developed and expanded through exhibitions and social events. The project also aims to reach out to groups or segments in our society that are not necessarily familiar with the visual art.

Reconsidering history is helping us understand the present and anticipate the future. With my projects, I want to contribute another perspective to our society and discover new views on related topics, which goes beyond the horizons of our own cultural epistemology. Though my project, I hope to prompt new questions to be asked about the past and future, and for stereotypes of different cultures to be challenged and scrutinized.