b. 1996, China
Jin Wei is an emerging artist whose mix-medium sculptures challenge the boundaries between the physicality of fibre material and structured metal. His sculpture works are often inspired by the idea of aesthetic ornamentation in the contemporary art and craft context. He currently lives and works between London, UK and Beijing, China.
Jin Wei is currently studying MA Sculpture at The Slade School of Fine Art, University College London. His works include stuffed soft sculptures, reassembled patterns, performative armours, and reimagined weaponry. Jin’s work centres around how the body acts as a container questions identity, interiority, exteriority, boundaries, and surfaces. His work also explores the interconnections between emotion and physical experiences rooted in “the body” itself.
Jin’s studio practice originates in the form of drawings, in which he collates various influences from the body, ornament, performance, and thematic material into a single unit. Drawn to automatic writing, Jin transforms textual and graphic elements on fabric materials using free-motion embroidery. His embroideries not only are visual symbols but also resonate with mark-making and tattooing.
Jin’s recent exhibitions are a part of his exploration in the fantastical realms of a fragile and metamorphosing identity, as he occupies and activates the exhibition space with large-scale installations and performances.
Can you briefly tell me about your background?
My name is Jin Wei, and I am from Beijing, China. I have been studying in the UK for almost six years.
What message does your work try to convey?
My work explores grotesque and ornaments. I am interested in how ornaments enhance our bodies physically and spiritually, how they can become shells that protect us. I like to explore the ceremonial elements that are somewhat magical powers.
My work can be overwhelming due to the intricacy and the number of details I put in. I want the audience to feel the intensity from the ornaments of my work and trigger a phycological impact from the subconscious mind.
Where do you draw your inspirations from?
Most of my inspirations come from natural observation, especially the plants around me, books, and botanic gardens. I sometimes research on the internet, but I prefer to keep my inspirations as physical as possible.
What type of techniques or materials do you use in your practice?
I specialise in two main types of materials: fabric and metalworks. The fabric I use includes different types of fibre, from synthetic to natural, and soft materials, like cotton. On the other side, I use forging and welding for my metal works. So there is a bit of contrast between the two materials I use. I have started to use embroideries and painting on my fabric works. It is all about texture-making and image-making. Even my three-dimensional soft sculptures draw inspiration from mark-making and tattooing on the skin.
Did the pandemic affect your artistic practice? How have you adapted to the change in life?
The most challenging part is the loss of community and communication. It is not just the artists but among the audience, curators, and collectors. As not everyone is used to working remotely, the transition wasn’t easy.
Can you tell me about your collaboration with the House of Glaze?
I decided to use one of my drawings I did for my undergraduate degree show. I incorporated different sections of the drawings as patterns on the silk scarf. As I identify myself as both an artist and a creative practitioner, I have always been interested in how much potential my works have in a commercial setting.
Jin Wei's exhibition space at the Glasgow School of Art Degree Show in 2019.