Back

Unnatural selection: jewellery, objects and sculpture

Exhibition  /  15 Jun 2007  -  30 Sep 2007
Published: 22.08.2007
Walker Art Gallery
Management:
Laura Johnson
Peter Chang. Bracelet: Untitled, 2002. Acrylic and resin. ? 16.7 X 6.8 cm. Peter Chang
Bracelet: Untitled, 2002
Acrylic and resin
? 16.7 X 6.8 cm
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.

Intro
The pieces I create can be sculptures or they can be worn as jewellery. Each individual will have a different response to them and I like that.

Artist list

Peter Chang
The extraordinary sculptural shapes of the objects made by Peter Chang are unique. He exploits the intrinsic qualities of plastic; its malleability and colour, adding depth and sensuality. This is the first time early and contemporary drawings, prints and sculptures are presented alongside his explorations into jewellery, objects and current sculptural activities showing a comprehensive overview of his work.

His drive to continually develop new ideas and techniques has earned him an international reputation, and his work is collected by individuals and museums all over the world. He is also the recipient of numerous National and International Awards, including the Jerwood Prize for the Applied Arts in 1995 and has recently been awarded a 2005-2007 Wingate Scholarship.

Artist, jeweller or sculptor? Peter Chang refuses to be labelled or to label his work. Seeing no difference between the arts, he produces work without limitations or boundaries.

‘The pieces I create can be sculptures or they can be worn as jewellery. Each individual will have a different response to them and I like that.’

Taking acrylic, polyester resin and PVC, and using techniques he has devised over many years, Chang turns these throw-away everyday materials into something special. He is inspired by many things, from the natural world to the urban environment. It would not be unusual in Chang’s work to see, perhaps, the imagery of aquatic plants combined with the pattern from the sole of a trainer. Nothing is too commonplace or mundane. Sometimes the piece of work develops as it is made; perhaps through an accident, or as Chang would call it, meaningful chance. He embraces these changes in order to create something new.

All Chang asks is that when looking at his work, viewers use their intellect, intuition and imagination as if listening to music. 

Remarks

Early work
Liverpool, Paris and London
Born in London in 1944, Chang grew up in Toxteth. His mother was from a local family and his father a Chinese seaman. The area had a thriving diverse community so that as he grew up he was exposed to many cultural influences. In the early sixties Chang was immersed in the swinging Liverpool art and music scene. He became a member of the popular black vocal harmony group ‘The Chants’ and stayed with them until 1962.

From 1962 until 1968 he studied art, graphic design, printmaking and sculpture at the Liverpool College of Art. In 1966 he won the Liverpool Senior City Scholarship which enabled him to study in Paris at the Atelier 17 under SW Hayter.

In 1968 he went to the Slade School in London, studying etching with Anthony Gross and sculpture with Reg Butler.

Whilst in Paris and at the Slade, Chang developed his love of printmaking. Some of his early printing plates and prints can be seen in the exhibition. The plates are deeply etched. Chang would carefully ink up the plate with more than one colour at a time. By doing this, he was able to produce a multicoloured print using just one plate instead of several. 


Jewellery
Chang first became interested in acrylic in the sixties, but it was not until the mid-1980s that he began to turn his attention to jewellery, which he regards as wearable sculpture. Some of his jewellery pieces seem to be almost Frankenstein-like creations with bone and gristle; whilst others seem to show every stage in an insect’s life cycle from pupa to butterfly.

He obtained acrylic from the local sign writer in Berry Street, collecting offcuts or parts of old signs taken from shops in Liverpool’s Chinatown. Red and yellow were popular colours in that community and were often used in shop signs. This colour combination is not uncommon in Chang’s work.

Although some of Chang’s jewellery is fairly large, it is surprisingly light. The core of each bracelet is made from polyurethane foam carved to shape. Chang then encases this core in polyester resin, reinforced with glass fibre strands. He then applies acrylic and uses heat to mould it to shape. Several layers of resin might then be added and polished.

Chang considers every detail of the design carefully and takes incredible care in the construction of each piece. Even the smallest pieces may take days to make. 


Sculptural objects
As a student, Chang was influenced by Chinese philosophy and the art movements of Dada and Surrealism. Chang likes to produce sculptures that express his ideas and also challenge the viewer. Chang is sometimes asked of his sculpture, ‘What was your inspiration?’ or simply ‘What is it?’ He prefers to let viewers make up their own minds.

Some of his sculptural objects have a basic function. For example the mirrors on display act as mirrors, but they do not give a true reflection.

Other sculptural pieces have no function at all, but show Chang’s exploration of structures, patterns and theories such as bubble formations, networks and opposing forces. He explores these using techniques, some based on oriental lacquer work, which he has developed over many years. 


Recent work
Designing for the future

Since 1987, Chang has lived and worked in Glasgow. Every piece of his work starts life as an idea, or several ideas, which are turned into a series of sketches. Occasionally, Chang’s final sketches show various colour combinations. If the piece is a commission, the coloured drawings are discussed with the client before the piece is started.

During production, the design might change and develop. Sometimes this is as a result of Chang’s ideas developing, and sometimes as a result of an accident which Chang calls ‘meaningful chance’. According to Chang, the object’s uniqueness is created by such events. Much of Chang’s work combines diverse imagery to produce something new.

Chang’s work is bought by collectors and museums all over the world, but is especially popular in Europe and America, where he has had numerous exhibitions.

Peter Chang. Bracelet: Untitled, 2006. Acrylic, resin and aluminium. 18 X 16.8 X 5.8cm. Peter Chang
Bracelet: Untitled, 2006
Acrylic, resin and aluminium
18 X 16.8 X 5.8cm
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
Peter Chang. Ring: Untitled, 2006. Acrylic, resin and silver. 4.5 X 3.8 X 4.5cm. Peter Chang
Ring: Untitled, 2006
Acrylic, resin and silver
4.5 X 3.8 X 4.5cm
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
Peter Chang. Brooch: Untitled, 2006. Acrylic, resin and silver. 6.0 X  5.5 X  2.2 cm. Peter Chang
Brooch: Untitled, 2006
Acrylic, resin and silver
6.0 X 5.5 X 2.2 cm
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
Peter Chang. Brooch: Untitled, 2006. Acrylic and resin. 11.4 X  3.1 X  1,1 cm. Peter Chang
Brooch: Untitled, 2006
Acrylic and resin
11.4 X 3.1 X 1,1 cm
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
Peter Chang. Bracelet: Untitled, 2005. Acrylic, resin and silver. ? 15.3 X  6.0 cm. Peter Chang
Bracelet: Untitled, 2005
Acrylic, resin and silver
? 15.3 X 6.0 cm
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
Peter Chang. Bracelet: Unttled, 2004. Acrylic, resin and silver. 21.5 X  20 X 6 cm. Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, Australia. Peter Chang
Bracelet: Unttled, 2004
Acrylic, resin and silver
21.5 X 20 X 6 cm
Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, Australia
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
Peter Chang. Bracelet: Untitled, 2002. Acrylic, resin and silver. 15 X 18.5 X 7.8 cm. Museum fur Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg, Germany. Peter Chang
Bracelet: Untitled, 2002
Acrylic, resin and silver
15 X 18.5 X 7.8 cm
Museum fur Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg, Germany
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
Peter Chang. Bracelet: Untitled, 2000. Acrylic, resin, pvc and silver. 16.5 X 17 X 8 cm. Peter Chang
Bracelet: Untitled, 2000
Acrylic, resin, pvc and silver
16.5 X 17 X 8 cm
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
Peter Chang. Ring: Untitled, 2003. Acrylic, resin and silver. 5.6 X 5 X 2.5 cm. Peter Chang
Ring: Untitled, 2003
Acrylic, resin and silver
5.6 X 5 X 2.5 cm
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
Appreciate APPRECIATE