Un command de Chine
My work for this show is based on Chine de Command. This is porcelain custom ordered in China in the 17th 18th century with western family crests, drawings and symbols on them. Therefore the name Chine which refers to porcelain, de command which means order in French.
The drawings on the pieces where copied by Chinese master painters on porcelain. But true the fact that they never saw a western person. They depicted them with some Chinese features. This comes really clear if you compare them with the original drawings used for the order.
Most of the examples known to me are made without the finesse and perfection, which characterizes the later European porcelain like Meissen and Sevres porcelain. This could be because the clients would never be able to complain. Because several years could pass between the shipping of the order and the delivery of the product. So the work didn’t had to be as precisely.
Or it could also be that the painters interpret the drawings in their own way and vision.
For me this is an example for copy without knowledge about the depiction. Which I find fascinating. How can you make something without knowledge of the theme? Without meaning?
This I what I would like to show in the exhibition: the power of copy.
I want to copy the same way of working for this show, but than in reverse. I want to make something in Europe for China. In this work I would like to catch the same cultural misunderstanding we western people have with the modern China.
Arthur de Vries
13-01-1982, Leiden, the Netherlands