The inhabitants of Vipoo Srivilasa’s enigmatic porcelain kingdom have much to tell us. As contemporary figurines they communicate through gesture, pattern, colour and texture: their delicately configured messages are full of poetic insight into the human condition, carrying more than just a touch of wry humour.
At first glance, their balanced poise beckons for our approval, to satisfy desire for perfection, decoration, or to escape into the soft murmurs of collectible comfort and status quo. Inevitably, closer inspection reveals Srivalasa’s take on cross-cultural social tensions, the commodification of artistic integrity, the role of the self within popular culture, and the history of ceramics worldwide.
Simultaneously both cool to the touch and hot with the fetishisms of empire, mercantilism and history, nothing compares with porcelain as a material.
Srivilasa’s newest cross-species characters embody a discussion of ‘settlement’. “Animals that are so cute you don’t know how bad they are – rabbits, feral cats – invaders”, thus setting up double-edged analogies with asylum seekers, the European appropriation of the Australian continent and his continuing investigation of the fluidity of borders between East and West.
Vipoo has exhibited both internationally and throughout Australia, including Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Saatchi Gallery, London; Ayala Museum, Philippines; Yingge Ceramics Museum, Taiwan; Nanjing Arts Institute, China; New Mexico Museum of Art, USA and the National Gallery of Thailand. His work is held in national and international collections including the National Gallery of Australia, the Art Gallery of South Australia and the Shaw International Centre for Contemporary Ceramics, Canada. Carol Schwarzman