Jewellery & Metal (MA)

Yu Tan

Yu Tan is an artist and jewellery designer. She has been exploring how relationships have enriched her life and have awakened her self-consciousness during her art practice in last few years through a process of introspections of her emotions and experiences. On the RCA’s Jewellery and Metal programme Yu researched and explored a wide range of themes, materials and techniques in order to inform and develop her current practice. She works through painting sketching and drawing to give order to her thoughts and impetus to her ideas.
 

Yu Tan has a background as a jewellery appraiser. Her interest in gemstones has led her to collect gemstones from around the world for tailor-made jewellery. The collection formed the basis of her interests in the relationship between the jewellery and the body, how emotional value can be delivered through jewellery, and how jewellery can act as a tool to represent our personal identity.

In this body of work, elements like rose thorns, wires, cubes and crosses are used as metaphors to present the artist’s reflections on relationships with others, with herself and with the world. She has explored alternative structures for jewellery to express her personal artist’s voice. 

Recent exhibitions include:

One Man Band The Horniman Museum, 

Matter-morphosis Dyson Gallery, 

London x Tokyo Jewellery Culture Exchange Exhibition Sunny Art Centre,

China x The United Kingdom x South Korea Metal Craft & Jewellery Cultural Exchange Exhibition No Spance.

In 2020, Yu Tan launched her own jewellery brand. 

Contact

yutan.jewellery@gmail.com

http://www.yutan-art.com

Degree Details

School of Arts & Humanities

Yu Tan believes that the essence of being human is the assembly of all past experiences. 

In her practice, she seeks to explore her own consciousness through the process of self-reflection of feelings and past experience and through introspection of social relations, using these interactions as a mirror to reflect her own character. 

Tan’s latest work related to this topic composes three project series: 1) Gifts, representing her relationship with others; 2) Chaos, regarding her relationship with herself; 3) Red Moon, reflecting on her perspective towards the world. 

These three projects correspond to the three stages of her self-consciousness awakening. 

I Do — 25*22*8 mm. Silver, 18K gold plating, Zircon

Hug me! — 20*10*5.5 mm. 18k gold

Put this on me, please. — 18*11*430 mm. Pearls, silver, 18k gold plating

Put this on me, please. — 18*11*430mm. Pearls, silver, 18k gold plating

A cold winter I — 900*900mm. Silk, resin

A cold winter II — 230*100*27 mm. Leather, resin

Mum’s gift — 155*105*50 mm. Wood, silver, silver wire, steel scissors

Mum’s gift — We only notice it as a thing when it breaks.

Mum’s gift — The wearer cuts the silver wire and then makes jewellery for herself. Experimenting with the silver wire, the wearer will think about the relationship between the jewellery and her own body. How to be worn.

This project series named Gifts reflects the first stage of self-conscious awakening through the examination of personal interactions between myself and others and is expressed in two parts. Gifts of Love and Mum’s Gift represent my introspection regarding relationships with lovers and between generations. 

About gifts of love: 

I use rose thorns to represent the pain and helplessness in love and how these feelings coexist. The works are titled to give a narrative context to the viewer’s understanding and to create opportunities for others to connect what they see to their own experience and imagination. 

These pieces cannot be worn, demonstrating that these relationships exist only in my memories and that the gifts belong to past events. 

About Mum’s gift: 

When I was a child, I often watched my Mum and Grandmother sewing clothes. When recall these scenes, I feel the time has passed slowly and quietly. In my memories, needlework delivers kindness and love, which have been passed to me as a gift. 

Mum's gift is the summary of Gifts of love, this is used to express life is a line, and different relationships with different people are the segments that I cut off. No matter how the relationship develops, it cannot back to the original state. But they are still precious and meaningful in my life.
Brooch
consciousness
Functional
love
Memory
Necklace
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Pearl
rca2020
Relationships
Social Connection

After leaving — Poem by Yu Tan Long after I'm gone, long after you're gone - The memory of you tortures me - I heard a sound from my inner world, light and affectionate, that made me feel alive - The past is engraved on my soul quietly, like the rose thorns wrapped around my body without making me bleed - I am wandering at the edge of memory - Interwoven with my desires - My rose had died - But my thorns are forever. Necklace. 1320*100*20 mm. Silver

After leaving — Poem by Yu Tan Long after I'm gone, long after you're gone - The memory of you tortures me - I heard a sound from my inner world, light and affectionate, that made me feel alive - The past is engraved on my soul quietly, like the rose thorns wrapped around my body without making me bleed - I am wandering at the edge of memory - Interwoven with my desires - My rose had died - But my thorns are forever. Necklace. 1320*100*20mm. Silver

After leaving — Sculpture. 140*95*70 mm. Bronze

After leaving — Sculpture. 140*95*70 mm. Bronze

After leaving — Ring. 70*55*45 mm. Bronze

After leaving — Ring. 70*55*45 mm. Bronze

After leaving — Brooch. 54*25*18 mm. Bronze, Stainless steel pin

After leaving — Brooch. 54*25*18 mm. Bronze, Stainless steel pin

The project “One man band”, is about a love affair. My ideas on this theme are represented by the rose thorns necklace and metal heart.

My intention is that the piece would feature in performance between a woman and man who are wearing the necklace between them and trying to avoid hurting each other when moving forward. Will they lose patience with each other and follow their own feelings and natural pace with time? I drew the analogy between this performance and a romantic relationship where love sometimes coexists with pain, discordance, and compromise.

This hollow metal heart in two halves resembles two people holding each other. Viewed separately, each part exists with a kind of sadness. A device is put inside the heart to record aspects of a couple’s daily life, including talking, eating, walking, and diary writing. When a relationship breaks up, these details still exist. Repeatedly replayed, the verbal exchanges and related emotional and physical conditions of recorded moments are recalled to mind, over and over again, either torturing one or both parties with painful memories generated from the heart.

Diary I — Bended and intertwined silver wire to represents the scribbling of written diaries containing descriptions of complex emotions. Frustration, anger, and regret for example. Brooch. 65*63*55mm; 50*48*44mm; 45*22*35mm. Silver, tourmaline, garnet

Diary II — Bended and intertwined silver wire to represents the scribbling of written diaries containing descriptions of complex emotions. Frustration, anger, and regret for example. Brooch. 65*63*55mm; 50*48*44mm; 45*22*35mm. Silver, tourmaline, garnet

Diary II — Bended and intertwined silver wire to represents the scribbling of written diaries containing descriptions of complex emotions. Frustration, anger, and regret for example. Brooch. 65*63*55mm; 50*48*44mm; 45*22*35mm. Silver, tourmaline, garnet

Living in the box I — Brooch. 60*55*55 mm. Silver

Living in the box II — A cuboid box with a moving pearl inside expresses how emotions can be controlled and suppressed.  Brooch. 2.80*42*18 mm; 60*55*55mm. Silver

Living in the box II — Jewellery. 100*78*40 mm. Sliver

Hope — The artwork Hope is the summary of the previous pieces in this project. During my introspection, I realize that my anxiety and sadness originate from desires related to wishes for fame and wealth. The crystal buddha form seen inside the pendant was an online purchase. Many people believe that the image of Buddha can bring wealth, health, and luck. When set in resin, the buddha becomes invisible as their the refractive indexes of the crystal and the resin are the same. Can we still believe the implied meanings the buddha pendant delivers if the image cannot be seen? I want to express that in many cases what we believe is often what we are willing to believe rather than related to visual representations. This cube form can be interpreted as a cage, or a physical body, which restrains the buddha inside, expressing the idea that we often feel trapped by what we actually wish or hope for. Necklace. 50*50*420mm. A Crystal buddha, resin, agate, rope. Necklace. 50*50*420 mm. A Crystal buddha, resin, agate, rope.

In this project, I examine myself, from the past to the present, from the outside to the inside. I try to explore and get in touch with my inner self. These works reflect emotions and feelings that have been suppressed and subsequently recovered.

The three of me — Acrylic painting. 256*190 cm

The three of me — Acrylic painting. 256*190 cm

The three of me — Acrylic painting. 256*190 cm

The three of me — Acrylic painting. 256*190 cm

These paintings represent my inner world during self-examination. The cube is my physical body and the three people in the painting represent different versions of me. When I start to analyze myself, I will pull one of them out from the cube as an observer, to see how the another two exist in the body, and what their status is. How they struggle in a quiet way.

Medium:

Acrylic painting

Size:

256*190 cm

Red Moon — When moving closer to the red balls, the crosses gather at the surface due to the magnet imbedded within the red balls. This phenomenon is used to express the idea that idealism is always surrounded by realism. We will eventually be close to the hidden ideals, which act as the light that guides us.

Red Moon — When moving closer to the red balls, the crosses gather at the surface due to the magnet imbedded within the red balls. This phenomenon is used to express the idea that idealism is always surrounded by realism. We will eventually be close to the hidden ideals, which act as the light that guides us. 

Red Moon — In this series, I have removed the jewellery’s structure. The red balls and crosses can be freely combined. When I display them together as a group, they can also be a sculptural object, and when I define them as jewellery, people will explore how they can be worn. This, I believe, is the way to encourage the wearer to think about the relationship between the jewellery and their own body. 

Red Moon — In this series, I have removed the jewellery’s structure. The red balls and crosses can be freely combined. When I display them together as a group, they can also be a sculptural object, and when I define them as jewellery, people will explore how they can be worn. This, I believe, is the way to encourage the wearer to think about the relationship between the jewellery and their own body. 

Red Moon — In this series, I have removed the jewellery’s structure. The red balls and crosses can be freely combined. When I display them together as a group, they can also be a sculptural object, and when I define them as jewellery, people will explore how they can be worn. This, I believe, is the way to encourage the wearer to think about the relationship between the jewellery and their own body. 

Following on from my study of relationships with others and with myself, my relationship with the world is the third stage of my self-conscious awakening. 
In this series, the Red Moon, illustrates the relationship with the world. Red, the most festive and positive color in Chinese culture, is used to express passion, strength, happiness, and fortune. For me, as for others, the cross represents negative meanings, such as errors and deletions. It is what people always want to avoid but seems unavoidable. 

The moon is an analogy to the ideal world, inspired by the fictional book "The Moon and Sixpence" by W. Somerset Maugham.

The red moon, like a bright lighthouse in the mist, represents the hardly attainable ideas and desires, which are distant but deeply attract me.

Medium:

Silver, resin, magnets, stainless steel

Size:

The size of red ball varies from 20 mm to 65 mm
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