What is in a self-portrait? Ruth Li would say hold up a mirror and find out. In Self Portrait I to V (2019) a florilegium of petals accompanied by dis-embodied birds – almost indistinguishable from taxidermy – are mounted on small ornamental hand mirrors. Baked into pristine-white Jingdezhen porcelain the flora floats but the fauna drowns, sinking into a world past the point of self-reflection. Revealing a self-awareness replete with suspicion and mystery the porcelain vanitas further symbolise evanescence and fragility: a deeply personal meditation to one’s autobiography.
Born in Taipei, the young Taiwanese-Australian began her practice as a foreigner connected to China’s fabled ancient porcelain town of Jingdezhen by heritage, language and medium. Informed by identity-clashes drawn from her ancestry, migration, culture and individual values she draws on the language of myths and dreams in search of clarity; freezing exquisite and delicate personal moments in chromophobic porcelain.
Li trained in ceramics at the National Art School and has gained growing international attention. She has exhibited in Australia, Taiwan, Mainland China, Korea and Thailand and works from Sydney, Taipei and Jingdezhen, China.