Juz Kitson’s latest exhibition at GAG Projects, Shifting Manifestations, is a series of refined yet complex installations or taxonomic collections which continue to explore ideas of the ephemeral and transient nature of life.
Kitson is particularly interested in the idea of Eros and Thanatos (life instinct and death instinct) and it is a thread that runs through her practice. She has spent the majority of the last 12 months in Asia travelling to China and Sri Lanka, and undertaking a three-month artist residency in Ubud, in Bali, Indonesia. Asia, and particularly China, has played a large part in Kitson’s creative practice helping her develop and refine her skills and influence her work generally.
“I’m fascinated by their customs and culture, the colourful world of ceremony, dance and drama, exploring tangibles and intangibles in the realm of religion, rituals and traditional medicines,” Kitson says. “I’m also captivated with the surrounding jungles and forests with fascinating flora and fauna.”
Juz Kiston in studio, Jingdezhen
In her previous exhibition, Still Life: sleep of non-being at GAG in 2014, Kitson was exploring the limitations and how far she could push the medium of porcelain. Shifting Manifestations offers audiences a new visual language both in aesthetic and composition. These new works present a different choice of palette and there are different conceptual threads binding the works together.
While Still Life was focused more on death, fragility and decay — and the theme of ‘memento mori’, which Kitson expressed by gathering roadkill and using the bones — this latest series moves away from those ideas momentarily.
“The works are more of a celebration of life, gender, sexuality, the human condition, culture and ritual,” Kitson says. “Each installation exists in a way that it’s a moment captured in time, although at any point the installations will continue to grow and take on the austere white walls that surround them.”
JUZ KITSON Primordial Pure. 2017, Jingdezhen porcelain, buffalo horns, fox and rabbit fur, wild goat hide, marine ply and treated pine. 160cm x 48cm x 30cm
In all of her work there is a sense that Kitson brings life to death, giving lifeless objects a spark and that’s certainly the case with this new body of work. She explains: “I want these works to have the sense they are alive, that the objects are seemingly imbued with sinister hidden meaning and always open to interpretation.”
With porcelain at the centre of Kitson’s practice, Jingdezhen in China has played a pivotal role in the development of her work. However, as her practice has evolved, she has started experimenting with other media and thus has expanded her exploration in China.
“I’m interested in developing future works with new materials and have started the conversation within my practice; cities like Nanchang for bronze, Zibo in the north for glass and Dehua in Fujian province for a new porcelain body, which is even more exquisite than what I have been working with.”
Juz Kitson: Shifting Manifestations
November 1 to November 26