Chen Hsian-Jung’s glazed tiles show us the infinite possibilities of ceramics

We couldn’t imagine walking over Chen Hsian-Jung’s tiles. A sight to behold, she endows these everyday items with enticing colourways that make them look like portals. She first encountered ceramics while studying for her master’s in creative and cultural entrepreneurship in London, where she embarked on a year-long journey of workshops at Hackney City Farm. Returning to her hometown in Taiwan over a decade ago, the artist has since been enthralled in a process of “self-directed learning,” she tells us, and participating in exhibitions showcasing her meticulous craft.

In August 2023, Hsian-Jung was part of the group exhibition Unruly Clay 2.0 held at Back_Y in Neihu, Taipei in northern Taiwan, where she showcased a plethora of striped architectural structures. During the show, the curators Chen Yi-Chiu and Yen Yu-Ting asked participating artists to respond to the distinctive characteristics of the exhibition space. “The space exudes a raw, unfinished ambiance, featuring cement walls, pillars, and an absence of partitions,” Hsian-Jung tells us. And, she felt a calling to create tiles in response, because of their significance in traditional Taiwanese architecture. “A common progression in a semi-finished house involves the installation of tiles. They represent a kind of industrial application of ceramics,” she adds, birthing the beginning of Tile Project.

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