Duet: Wabi-Sabi & Bloom: Terence Lee & Marcel Heijnen

“We appreciate flowers, not despite the fact they wither, but because they wither.”


Amanda Wei Gallery is pleased to announce the collaborative exhibition “Duet: Wabi-Sabi & Bloom” by Hong Kong ceramic artist Terence Lee and Dutch visual artist Marcel Heijnen, in a refreshing exhibition-viewing experience in the last spring and early summer. Unlike our previous art forms of painting and sculpture, this exhibition will feature photography and ceramics. The duo artists explore the elegant Zen aesthetic of "Wabi-Sabi" in urban landscapes and daily objects, and the vigorous vitality underneath the surface of the rough and shriveled forms. It creates a multi-dimensional story space with a blend of Eastern and Western perspectives.


Wabi-Sabi is a concept with both philosophical and aesthetic significance. Originated from Zen Buddhism and later influenced by Japanese regional culture that focuses on “object” and “craftmanship spirit”, Wabi-Sabi presents a series of literary and quaint life beliefs. Marcel Heijnen, who has been living in Asia for 30 years, applies the Wabi-Sabi concept “nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect” in his creations. He aims to capture change – using still images – to show that everything is a process, in continuous flux. Like the Japanese ceramicist, he roughly knows what he is going to get, but not specifically. After the Urban "Residue" and the Fauna "Chinese Whiskers" there’s now a focus on the Flora in the new series "Bloom" that will be presented to the public for the first time. The idea of introducing flowers into his work came about during the many hikes Marcel did in these times of pandemic - he realised the great calming effect of nature and noticed many flowers grow in the wild in Hong Kong. Ceramic artist Terence Lee presents a typical form of Wabi-Sabi style based on how he explores "object" in creations. With 40 years of exploration and research on various aspects of ceramic art, and the knowledge and spiritual energy absorbed under different time, space and culture, he eventually returned to his own self nature. Standing among the grass and the soil, inspired to use water and clay to form a piece, to use grass and wood as fuel, and fire to burn it into immortal ceramic, is indeed a blessing. A nature lover, despite the many complicated processes of making ceramic, he enjoys the feeling of quickly shaping it with a single wave after tempering. He likes to see the essence of clay and the primitive beauty hidden in the glaze. Regardless of the elegance amidst the roughness, the joy amidst the sadness, the incompleteness unconcealed, he only hopes that the clay flowing between his thoughts and fingers in coordination becomes an object of harmony and beauty.


Through the quaint, rough and even fragmented styles presented by “Wabi-Sabi”, this exhibition contrasts sharply with the bright and refined styles in the consumerist society. The spiritual beliefs of returning to the basics and focusing on a certain object has attracted more and more attention in recent years. As said by Jun'ichirō Tanizaki in his book In Praise of Shadows, “We find beauty not in the thing itself but in the patterns of shadows, the light and the darkness, that one thing against another creates”.


Artworks in this “Duet” are complementary to each other, the distinctly different materials and textures elaborate the connection between objects and their interaction with the environment. The surrounding of life becomes the medium with the coexistence of functionality and artistry, allowing the audience to explore the subtle visual and sensory perception within it.