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Show RCA 2019

Mingze Zhang

Show RCA work

Major project:


What could a wall lead you to think of?

Peace, reliability, space, politics. . . 

When you see a handbag which could not carry anything, do you think it is still meaningful? What is a meaningless matter?

A WALL AND A BAG can be divided into three parts. The first part is, I use 100 bricks to build a 'wall' on the pavement every day and then take it down; the second part is that I walk in front of that same wall every day; the third part is a series of fashion bags without function. Although these three parts of performance and object look like they have no relationship with each other, there is a commonality among them, which is my self-reflection about society and values. There is no reason to build a wall and remove it, however, what if I repeat it every day? Would this 'wall' still be meaningless? There is no purpose to just walking in front of a wall, but what if I walk in front of the same wall every day? A handbag that could not hold anything is meaningless, however, do people really care about whether this bag can hold things or not? How do the meaningful event and meaningless matter transform each other?

A WALL AND A BAG focuses on the self-reflection and value of things. During the process of repeating the performance, each time, I ask myself a simple question: what am I doing? Not in building a wall or walking in front of the wall, they are more like a process of meditation and self-reflection to me, I'm thinking about the meaning of my existence, thinking about the perspective from which we regard things, thinking about what position I hold in society.

Recording these performances is not only a record of the process of my thinking, but also the result of my self-reflection. I use my words to show my psychological activities in the video. At first I was worried about someone taking away my camera. I was worried about other people's opinions on what I was doing. I was worried about whether or not I was wasting my time. But as time went by, I gradually found that I liked repeating these performances. I enjoyed this peaceful time which does not require me to think. I began to review my life's history, to focus on beautiful details in my life. This is a method of introspection in psychology, and it has gradually become a way for me to think about the world.

A handbag that could not hold anything is meaningless in of itself. However, if you still like it and go out with it, is it still meaningless? By making a series of non-functional bags, I would like to discuss how the value of things can be expressed. When you carry a piece of 'brick' without function, 'meaningful events' and 'meaningless matters' seem to encounter, transform, and merge in another parallel world.


  • According to the transcendentalists, God is in the rain. I, too, strongly agree with the point. To me, the miracle is omnipresent: it is hidden in a fragile and fragrant flower; in the eyes of an innocent child; in every single creation of nature. And as for us human beings in this world, we originated from nature, we depend on nature, we are the absolute part of nature. But people always forget about this fact, alienating themselves from Mother Nature, seeking aesthetic standards in those artificial commodities which are the outcome of a mechanised lifestyle resulting from the Industrial Revolution. People can easily get lost in the world of virtual networks provided by electronic products and even destroy nature in reverse. The reason why I take the contemporary art of jewellery as my life goal lies exactly in the wish to exhibit the destructive power of human beings, of reminding them that the delicacy and fragility of nature deserves to be cherished; that the pure undressed beauty of nature cannot be surpassed by any artificial products. I would like to realise all my theories through the form of jewelleries in which different materials (natural or artificial) can mix and talk, for it is born to bear the weight of human emotions. It is, no doubt, the perfect artistic approach for me.

    The faith and the sense of mission I have mentioned above dates back to my childhood. When the city rivers were still limpid and clear, the city air was still fresh and unpolluted, the people still led a life of being easily-satisfied, I began to fall in love with the world, by constantly drawing the people, the natural landscapes of land and sea. Painting helped me to perceive the world, making me a happy, optimistic young lad. Even though the waters were polluted afterwards, vehicle exhaust and industrial waste gas floated all over the city, the forests turned into deserts, people became eager for quick success and instant benefits, my optimism maintains. I still believe that natural beauty can be heart-wrenching. Through my jewellery, I make voices which may be feeble but firm: I strive to made my work 'rose & pin' to reach the acme of being delicate, hoping to arouse the subtle resonance of something similar to pity, by watching the symbol of pure beauty being pierced by the symbol of painful destruction. Flowers are also like children, who live in the modern environment of commodity-driven economic society. Their pure innocence could be easily impacted by all the artificial cliché. Thus, step by step, these issues aroused my interests in investigating social phenomena. I made surveys about autistic children, about how they got injured, about their love and fear. With the deepening of the surveys for my work, I even investigated the natural mystical power that people revere, combining this with the theme called 'amulet', supported by conventional Chinese culture. By teasing out the amulet history of ups and downs, I recognised the influence towards social level and made some creative try-outs using traditional Chinese elements.

    You may have drawn the conclusion that being sensitive and exquisite are my traits of character. Discussing the relationship between people, society and Mother Nature is my favourite theme in artistic jewellery works. I admire a delicate and concise work style. Taking details of everyday life as the entry point is my habit for now. Living 'elsewhere' is the perfect way to enlighten me for even more passion and the perfect way to accumulate humanistic attainments. To be with the most brilliant professors and artists, to discuss with classmates from different cultures are my current needs. And, to be a member of your school, is one big step towards a mature jewellery artist. To influence the characteristics of this time is my lifelong pursuit after all, just as Thoreau wrote in Walden, that is the most advanced purpose of art.

  • Previous degrees

  • BA Jewellery Design, Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China, 2017; Introduction to Art and Finance, Sotheby's Institute of Art, 2019
  • Experiences

  • Curator, 'ID' Exhibition, Bloomsbury Gallery, London, 2019
  • Exhibitions

  • Beijing International Contemporary Jewellery Exhibition, Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology, 2017; The First Graduate Jewellery and Metal Exhibition, Craft Gallery, Guangzhou, 2018; 'Art Nova 100' – Chinese Contemporary Art Exhibition, Guardian Art Center, Beijing, 2018; 'Red Thread' Exhibition, Dyson Gallery, London, 2018; 2019 Munich Jewellery Week, Lovaas Gallery, Munich, 2019; 'ID' Exhibition, Bloomsbury Gallery, London, 2019
  • Awards

  • Chow Tai Fook Scholarship: 'CTF Campus Elite', 2014; Chow Tai Fook Scholarship: 'CTF Campus Elite', 2015; Chow Tai Fook Scholarship: 'CTF Campus Elite', 2016; National Scholarship, 2016; Second Prize, China Fashion Accessory Design Competition, Xiamen, China, 2017
Royal College of Art