Postmodern porcelain

Set of six blue and white Cola bottles by Taikkun Li, porcelain, 22.9 cm high. ©Pagoda Red

The Style Court blog recently featured these blue and white Cola bottles by Chinese artist Taikkun Li, available via Pagoda Red. They are a rather wonderful hybrid of modern global branding and traditional Chinese ceramic design.

Pair of Chinese gourd-shaped vases, porcelain, c 1635-40, at Ickworth House, Suffolk. ©NTPL/John Hammond

Their outline is vaguely reminiscent of a gourd-shaped vase, a traditional East Asian ceramic shape.

Baroque-style display of ceramics in the State Dressing Room at Beningbrough Hall, North Yorkshire. ©NTPL/J. Whitaker

Courtney Barnes of Style Court also alerted me to a quote by Taikkun Li, who says on his own website

The modern mind has lost all capacity to wonder. It has lost all capacity to look into the mysterious, into the miraculous – because of knowledge, because it thinks it knows.

East Asian ceramics on a late seventeenth-century Antwerp cabinet at Belton House, Lincolnshire. ©NTPL/Andreas von Einsiedel

I slightly disagree with him: I think his own work proves how we can recapture a sense of wonder, if we try hard enough.

Oak court cupboard with blue and white ceramics in the Music Room at Gunby Hall, Lincolnshire. ©NTPL/Nadia Mackenzie

Wouldn’t it be marvellous if we could insert some of Taikkun Li’s bottles among the ceramics on display at a historic house? They would look right at home, I think.

Fireplace in the Acanthus Room at Wightwick Manor, Wolverhampton, West Midlands. ©NTPL/Andreas von Einsiedel

They would fit into a Baroque setting, as part of a massed display of blue and white. But they would also work in an Arts and Crafts interior, on an oak shelf against some Morris fabric or wallpaper. Perhaps an idea for the National Trust’s contemporary arts programme?

7 Responses to “Postmodern porcelain”

  1. style court Says:

    Emile —

    I love how you tied this together. Your concept would be especially fitting for one of our historic houses here in Atlanta (the impact of Coke — our term for Coca Cola — on the city combined with the traditional popularity of Chinese export and chinoiserie in the Southeast). Hopefully a curator will be inspired to do a temporary installation. Specifically I like your idea to simply insert some of Taikkun Li’s bottles among the existing ceramics. Thanks for running with this!

    Oh, and I think I’m supposed to know something about the trademark design of the iconic Coke bottle — right now I can’t remember. Will have to look that up.

  2. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Thanks Courtney. It could be a new Atlanta-centric art-historical style: Coke Baroque 🙂

  3. VICTORIA Says:

    Outstanding pieces!!!Brilliant ideas…they are such a wonderful cheerful blending of the old ,historic style…the vintage as well..Thanks for sharing i enjoyed reading.

  4. Carl Says:

    Great post Emile,

    Would definitely capture the imagination of the younger visitor if the National Trust were to display these porcelain bottles.

  5. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Thanks Carl – yes I think they could appeal to all sorts of audiences, as they combine visual beauty with conceptual humour.

  6. le petit cabinet de curiosites Says:

    Love these blue and white displays

  7. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Thanks – they are all rather different from each other, but the blue sings out in all of them, doesn’t it?

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