A permanent installation at the Yingge Ceramics Museum, Taiwan
The Gathering Gate brings people together. These 707 pieces of fine ceramics show their excellent individual qualities, but only by coming together they create an experience far beyond their individual means.
Note that all individual pieces are equal, but they are not completely the same. The difference between individual pieces adds to the brilliance of the collective result.
In 2017, Ann Van Hoey had the honour to become an artist-in-residence in the New Taipei City Yingge Ceramics Museum. With her goal to make wall installations composed of several closed volumes in mind, the Museum’s director Wen Hung Chen approached her with his one condition, namely that he wanted visitors to be able to touch the artwork, which should be situated on a very important outdoor place, that is the passage between the actual museum and the sculptural garden.
Ann took up the challenge enthusiastically and started some tests in collaboration with a local factory, specialized in porcelain casted pieces. The idea of the design was to create a landmark within the Yingge Museum site. Since Ann thinks the passage is the ideal meeting point, it should be a striking masterpiece, including the creation of a porcelain gate and a large 6 by 2,25 meter mural panel.
As a consequence, the initial 400 pieces became 707 pieces, all derived from Ann’s signature starting point, the hemisphere. By cutting and folding the volumes, she actually created 3-dimensional tiles in porcelain using the casting technique.
For the mural panel alone, she designed 3 different types of those ‘tiles’, differing in depth. The tiles on the outside of the rectangle are placed in alignment, the inner pieces more or less at random. Though the tiles are square, there is an important play of crosslines in the work, that comes out stronger by the reflection of the changing daylight.
The gate itself was a real showstopper because of the size of the artwork. The inspiration for the sculptures on the gate found Ann in little heads chatting to each other or passing on a message.
All in all, the hundreds of separate works of art together formed one large installation. And that was exactly Ann’s intention, that it should be a place where individuals find, meet each other, where people are brought together, where one plus one becomes many. That message of ‘togetherness’ was reinforced by the 12 tiles that were decorated with 12 words in Dutch, Ann’s native language, and Mandarin, all derivatives from the word ‘together’, like ‘Samen’ and ‘Bijeen’ (in Dutch). As she learned during her residency in Taiwan, Mandarin is a lot richer than any other living language on the planet. That’s why she also incorporated 8 well-chosen Mandarin characters.
In summary, Ann really enjoyed working ‘Together’ at ‘The Gathering Gate’ with a lot of Taiwanese people, which she still remembers as a wonderful and enriching experience.