Working with LA Art Consultant Adam Biesk, Moss presented an extraordinary juxtaposition of art and design in an exhibition called “Import / Export”. Exploring the art historical exchange between East and West through two collections, Moss shows Pyramids of Makkum and a collection of paintings and photographs by five internationally recognized contemporary Chinese artists.
Pyramids of Makkum – a collection of five monumental Delftware flower pyramids, or totem-like vases, produced in 2008 by the 16th century Dutch company, Royal Tichelaar Makkum. Offered in a numbered, limited edition, the collection consists of a painstakingly researched and faithfully executed replica of the seminal 17th century model presently in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam – an exuberant multiple-flower vase created in the Oriental style in response to Europe’s fascination with the East as well as that period’s ‘tulip mania’ - and four contemporary interpretations of this historic piece, created by leading Dutch artists Hella Jongerius, Studio Job, Jurgen Bey, and Alexander van Slobbe.
shown in counter-point with
Contemporary Chinese Painting and Photography – a collection of work by four internationally recognized artists - Cui Xiuwen, Weng Fen, Zhan Wang, and Zhang Ting Jun. Embodying strong Western imagery that represents a definitive shift in Chinese tradition, these ten paintings and photographs suggest a formal bridge with the Dutch Pyramids, linking both through their embodiment of a rapid, almost out-of-control invasion of foreign ideas and imagery. Centuries later, this exchange of West to East, evidenced by these paintings and photographs, is the reverse of the East-West China trade in ceramic and porcelain that so influenced 17th and 18th century Europe.
Established in 1602, the Dutch East India Company was granted a monopoly by the States-General of the Netherlands for all trade activities in Asia. As China-trade grew, large cargoes of Chinese and Japanese porcelain were exported to Europe. Desire for these painted wares increased, rapidly introducing the West to an array of classic Japanese and Chinese motifs. Seduced by the exotic images of the East, the Dutch began producing large numbers of ceramic works which borrowed heavily from Eastern themes, re-interpreting them with greater or lesser degrees of accuracy.
The invention of porcelain-making in the West, at the Court of Augustus the Strong, in Dresden, Germany in 1708, lead to the establishment of the Meissen manufactory in 1710, followed by the rapid establishment of numerous other porcelain manufactories throughout Europe, most producing large quantities due to the frenzied demand for this ‘white gold’. The Continent was awash in porcelain painted with Oriental motifs, both real and imagined. As early as 1727, Augustus began work on his Japanisches Palais, richly decorated to house his already vast, and growing, collection of Chinoiserie, comprised of both imported Oriental wares as well as their new European interpretations.
Centuries later, in China today, we witness a similarly intense and rapid flow of trans-continental influence, this time from West to East. Contemporary Chinese art, architecture, commerce, communication, and dress - indeed, most social, cultural, financial, and even political arenas - reflect a fascination, an obsession, with Western ideas, absorbed quickly.