art review&curating, design, interviews, women in art
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Artist profile: Man Yau

Man Yau is a Helsinki based artist currently living in New York City. Her art and design philosophy comes from craftsmanship, which means exploration with different materials. She collaborates genuinely with other designers and artists. Most recently, she exhibited @TheHoleNYC together with two other Finns, Jesse Auersalo and Nina Merikallio in their show called “Dislocation”.  Man says that having so many idols and mentors in her life makes it impossible to start with a particular list..

But I do love a mark that Ettore Sottsass has left to the design history, I recently experienced a wonderful show by Daniel Leyva, Toshio Matsumoto’s “Shift” is better than weed, and streaming with my brother is always encouraging. -Man Yau

Checkmate series by Man Yau ( artist, sculptor) and Jesse Auersalo (visual artist.) Photo: Megan Cullen @TheHoleNYC

FIRSTINDIGO&LIFESTYLE: How would you describe your medium, intersection between art and design, using traditional materials to convey popular topics or trends? 

MAN  YAU: Firstly, the intersection between art and design, what does it mean nowadays anyways? I feel that the borderline between art and design has been crossed, and more and more experimental design objects or functional art pieces are being produced. Secondly, I do use lots of mediums such as marble, porcelain, glass, wood and metals because I love working with my hands. Craftsmanship, it’s part of my philosophy of making. And it conveys to “popular” topics (I would rather say current topics) because I want to handle modern society’s movements in my work. The themes of my artworks reflect current trends that I see as a characteristic for our generation.

Where did you exhibit recently, before showcasing in New York? How was the New York exhibit?

MAN YAU: My latest project was a collaborative project with Finnish fashion designer Sophie Sälekari. I made a very experimental, haute-couture-ish bag collection for her line up. It was shown for the first time at Näytös14 (Organized by Aalto University, ARTS) and then the whole collection has been in different showrooms and in Paris Fashion Week. At the same time I exhibited in Milan Design week 2014, at the show room Spazio Milano C’est Chic together with Beacon Helsinki, this collective creative network group. Oh yah, I have now ongoing a group exhibition in Helsinki. It’s called Arts and Design of Tomorrow at Bukowskis Auction House in Helsinki.

You have made beautiful skateboards out of porcelain, which is a statement of cultural trend, do you skate yourself?

MAN YAU:  No I don’t, not my sport but skateboarding and all stuff related to it has been a big influence to me always. (Porcelain decks on vimeo: http://vimeo.com/48134455)

What is the current art climate in Helsinki versus Europe?

MAN YAU: Well It’s getting sunnier I guess tho it is still cloudy. By that I mean that Finnish design and fashion industry are rising with good speed but art comes behind. I think it’s because of the lack of financial support and branding. There are a lot of really amazing art projects going on all the time but the projects usually stays where it started from, in Finland. Not too many of us have change to go big, in global-wise.

What do you consider as your future goals?

MAN YAU: To become a self-employed artist with a good taste and who does not have to beg money from the foundations to support the project all the friggin’ time.

What do you think of the global art market, do you have an opinion about it?

MAN YAU: Interesting, crucial, if you get into the spin the cloudy days are over.

Check out Man Yau’s website: www.manyau.fi

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