Zhao Meng

With each sculptural creation, Zhao Meng seeks to expand the definition of ceramic art by experimenting with and pushing the capabilities of the material, as well as revitalizing classical forms and traditional aesthetic sensibilities for contemporary audiences. Studying at the Ceramic Department of the National Academy of Fine Art, Hangzhou, Zhao worked for many years as an artist in residence at Harvard University, before returning to Hangzhou to take over executive direction for the International Contemporary Ceramic Arts Biennale, the premier ceramic event in the country. Today, working between the two continents, Zhao Meng is determined to honor tradition, not by repeating it, but by expanding upon it. Zhao is perhaps best known for his fantastically reimagined scholar’s stones—an art form highly regarded by Chinese connoisseurs for over a millennium. Prized for both their inherent beauty and their elusive resemblance to landscapes or figures, Zhao’s ceramic versions of these ‘stones’ employ the challenging medium of ceramics to mimic and recreate the forces of nature. “I put myself in the position of water eating away the stone” he says. Like the scholar’s stones that inspire them, Zhao’s sculptures are for him objects of contemplation and meditation, rendered somehow more sensual and evocative by the unpredictable material and glazes, and ungovernable forces of kiln firing. More than just virtuoso imitations of nature, Zhao’s sculptures give free rein for the beholder to imagine and be enraptured. Meng Zhao’s works have been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions worldwide, Including the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea; the National Academy of Fine Art, Hangzhou; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the China Institute, New York.