Man Yau (b.1991) is a Helsinki-based sculptor. She graduated with a Master’s degree from Aalto University of Art and Design specializing in ceramics and glass design. Currently she is finalizing her second Master’s in sculpture at the The Academy of Fine Arts, University of the Arts in Helsinki.
Her artistic practice is a material-led exploration on the topic of exoticization, from both a personal and historical perspective. Yau works with sculptures and installations, where she borrows shapes from recognizable objects and situations, such as Chinoiserie-style aesthetics, porcelain vases, and silk ribbons. Central to her work are the values and history associated with everyday objects, and by reshaping them, Yau explores notions of values in racial, gendered, and commonly accepted narratives.
Rosie Wallpaper 01
A sculpture installation
Forged steel, glass, cast aluminum, porcelain, silky ribbon
Dimensions vary according to the space
Rosie Wallpaper 01 is a sculpture installation including a hand-bound grid of silky ribbon, and a repeating element made of hand-forged steel, tiffany-glass, cast-aluminum and porcelain. The work deals with identity, an experience of exoticization, the feeling of generalization and simplification; to be on display and under pressure at the same time.
The work examines these questions by looking at the materialization of the Chinoiserie in the wallpaper industry: How visual culture of the East began to be utilized in the wider industry in Western countries, whereby the taken forms and references become a reduced version of the origin.
The installation plays with Chinoiserie style aesthetics, based upon European imitation of Asian aesthetics that was (and is) applied in design and arts since the 18th century. Chinoiserie, which comes from the French word “Chinese”, does not make a separation between what is Chinese, Japanese, or Indian, but rather generalizes its content under a presumably all-encompassing categorization, “Asian.”
The Alfred Kordelin Foundation is currently supporting the work of the artist. The production of the artwork was also supported by Kone Foundation, Arts Promotion Centre Finland, and The Paulo Foundation in 2022. In addition, the artist would like to thank Maija Fox and Vesa Rahikainen for their technical assistance in the production.
Artist’s portrait - Kadri-Ann Kivisild
Artwork images - Rosie Wallpaper 01, 2022, a sculpture installation, Man Yau, photo: Timo Nieminen, 2022