Glassblowing prodigy shines in the spotlight

Glassblower Zhao Jinya is the first Chinese artist to be featured at the Liuli China Museum in Shanghai.


Zhao Jinya pictured with her glass creations at the artist's solo exhibition at the Liuli China Museum in Shanghai. CHINA DAILY

June 6, 2023

SHANGHAI – Young glassblower Zhao Jinya is the first Chinese artist to be featured at the Liuli China Museum in Shanghai. Her solo exhibition Nebulosity Walk in Thy Memory is showcasing more than 30 works from May 18 to Sept 3.

Born in 1994, Zhao is a doctoral candidate at the Royal College of Art, London, who has had many of her works collected by museums and galleries at home and abroad, including the Victoria and Albert Museum in the United Kingdom, the Prague Gallery of Czech Glass, the Qingdao Art Museum in Shandong province and Southern Illinois University in the United States.

At the opening of the exhibition, Zhao described the event as a summary of her experiences over the past decade.

The curator of the show, Feng Zhenting, said he arranged the exhibits according to when they were created, to reflect the artist’s evolution and development starting in 2018. Zhao started her career in the glass studios of Zibo, Shandong province, before moving to Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province, and then onto the UK.

“When viewing Zhao’s glass sculptures, one may experience a sense of strangeness as the pieces present themselves in an unexpected manner, with hazy layers of colors and curvy shapes that soften the edges of the glass, a material that is typically sharp and cold,” said Feng.

The exhibition also showcases some of the artist’s latest experiments with watercolor and wall pieces, as well as her sketches and documentation of her creative process.

“Since 1987, when the founders of the Liuli China Museum, Loretta Yang and Chang Yi, started to work with pate-de-verre (paste of glass) for glass art and revived the ancient Chinese glassmaking craft, we have constantly paid close attention to different methods, styles and creations of glass art in the world,” Jenny Tsai, assistant director of Liuli China Museum, told China Daily.

“Emerging glass artists in China in recent years are showing dexterity with the material and have developed individualistic styles of their own. Their achievements have now been recognized by the global art scene.”

Tsai noted that Zhao has a unique approach to glassblowing and has over the years not only delved into the material itself, but also constantly pushed the boundaries of techniques and experimented with the aesthetic expression of this particular medium.

“We hope the exhibition of her work will attract new audiences and initiate new dialogues between the contemporary and ancient Chinese glass art, which is featured at our museum,” she said.

If you go

Nebulosity Walk in Thy Memory: Zhao Jinya’s Glass Art Exhibition

10 am-6 pm, May 18-Sept 3 Liuli China Museum, 25 Taikang Road, Huangpu district, Shanghai


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