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Ceramics & Glass (MA)

Yimei Yuan

Yimei Yuan was born in China and has since childhood been deeply influenced by Eastern philosophy. The experience of learning Chinese ink painting at an early age established her artistic aesthetic, and created a new collision between her ceramic paintings and photography. 

Yimei’s creative focus is to use and combine physical materials with digital media to explore space and the invisible atmosphere of space. When she sees a piece of work, what she sees is a portion of time, and every object is the medium of narration in her conversation with space.

She has accepted that she cannot become Andrei Tarkovsky in this life, but she finds a new self in every waking moment.

Show Location: Battersea campus: Dyson & Woo Buildings, Third floor

During my two years at the RCA, I have used a creative technique that combines ceramics and film. Ceramics are the characters in my story; this is how I interact with this material, and I cherish every collision of the virtual with reality.

In the form of ceramic paintings, I've been capturing my personal sentiments and relationship with space. Every small figure is a microcosm of myself, and even if I appear to be vanishing in many scenarios, I am still there in some manner.

Technique has always been a means to a goal for me, and the landscape I view alters depending on the material used to create it. That's why I’ve been attempting to create digital ceramics, in which the real ceramic changes colour due to digital technology, allowing all of the hidden traces to emerge. Are they still made of clay? Is the original ceramic still present?

Not Just Now
Work details

During quarantine in my apartment, I was immersed in my relationship with the space in which I lived during the pandemic. I've been attempting to visualise my emotions and loneliness, as well as the ambiance of the entire place, in a sequential manner. 

The square tiles painted the blurred shadow of my reflection on the window glass of my apartment. The irregular and rough edges of the tiles are space which is burning, and all of the objects in the room have lost their particular physical features. 

Scene 1

Every day, the sea can be seen faintly pouring out of the London sky; 

I yearn for the cold, 

yet my body smells like burned leather and sleeping volcanoes. 

I try to leave my mark in this space, 

but the four o'clock sunset has swallowed me up.


Mixed clay


21cm x 21cm x 5mm * 9 pieces
Allow Me To Depart
Work details

Scene 2

But what exactly am I yearning for? 

Is it only the space in my flat that I want to go away from? 

I have no idea how other people perceive me. 

Maybe I'd never wanted to play this game. 

Floating in the nothingness ocean, 

please take me away.

Allow me to depart.


Mixed clay


Tiles: Diameter 17cm x 2mm * 8 pieces, Sculpture: 37cm x 3cm

I sense the weakness, haziness, and likeness to flesh. 

But apart from the flesh, what am I left with?

Scene 3

“To invite the moon I raise my cup.

We’re three, as my shadow shows up.”

Drinking Alone with the Moon, Li Bai

I escaped.

I assumed I was out of the space I was in, 

but I was actually still in it. 

Without the frame, 

the proof is the shadow.


Mixed Clay sculptures


White: 29cm x 4cm, Black: 28cm x 6cm
Original ceramics
Work details
Work details
Still from projector
Still from projector

Using ceramics, combined with painting and film, I make a new change to the fired ceramics, merging it with diverse virtual textured pictures, utilising projectors. 

After firing, ceramics do not alter for thousands of years, but by projecting images onto them, they come alive in different ways. When I switch off the projector, the image vanishes, but the ceramics remain the same as before.

Scene 4

I keep moving towards myself, 

all attention is on oneself.

I can't see the exit,

Paranoia was driving me further and further away from myself.

Escape, resist, and seek assistance. 

Every shift is a visual change, 

a change in self-righteousness.

“Everything with form is unreal;

“if all forms are seen as unreal, the Tathagata will be perceived.”

The Diamond Sutra


Mixed clay with projector


White: Diameter 27cm, Black: Diameter 32cm

The short film ‘Borning’ (1m40s) is a collaboration alongside glass artist Dovile Grigaliunaite. The film embodies the transformation of un-being to being. The vitality of body drives the process leading to metamorphosis and self-destruction before ultimately entering a subconscious tranquillity.

The works appear to come to life little by little as a result of the glass blowing process, and I am deeply aware that all objects have their own consciousness and that all things have animism. 

Nearing the end of the film, I use an abstracting technique to give the glass a virtual personality.


Physical ceramics - 1
Digital version - 1
Physical ceramics - 2
Digital version - 2
Physical ceramics - 3
Digital version - 3

I strive to do secondary creation of my ceramic works through changed by bidirectional colour and the overlay of colour gradient layer through research and development of virtual and reality. Use virtual ways to investigate another ceramics possibilities and look. 

After firing, it can only have a set shape of ceramic work, and it begins its journey of changing colour and even form at anytime, anywhere.

Is it, however, still the case? Is it still made of clay? 

Perhaps all of the hidden traces and colours that appear as a result of digital manipulation are also part of the genuine thing.


Ceramics, digital media