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Yue Xu

2021, 11 acrylic carving pieces, 5cm*5cm*3cm, photo credit to Qi Liu

“The human imagination is not a physical entity, but it plays an indispensable role in the operation of human society, and creates insurmountable disasters and conflict. Non-material things actually affect our material life. It is difficult to define the value of these non-material fictions: we pay for a story, symbolic value, rather than the entity itself.

 In Yue’s work, elements like e-mail and e-books represent the trend towards immateriality. A Coca-Cola bottle, supreme brick for a thousand dollars and diamonds all represent overrated symbolic value. The tulip symbolizes the collective imagination, the concept of monetary worth and the values and standards created by human beings; after she had made the tulip she carved the bitcoin symbol to give a more direct association to the notion of fictional money. They are all fictions in a way: they are all representations of people’s consensus of value.

 The bubble form is an ontological metaphor of disappearance, non-materiality and inflation – these abstract bubble pieces can be understood as something that has mutated or inflated so much that we can’t even recognize the original form.

 My project is about how we define the value of material and immaterial existence in this rapidly changing world, this project is my exploration of how does our value standard been distorted and re-constructed in this era. How will we adapt to this world where virtualization and immaterialization are becoming faster and faster?”


“Yue Xu is an object maker and contemporary jewellery artist. She has a background in silversmith and completed her BA at Tsinghua University in Beijing. During this period, she joined in the exchange learning program at the National Taiwan University of the Arts and focused on metal craft making. In 2019, she began her Master’s at the Royal College of Art, in the meantime, she founded her own experimental jewellery brand, Sphinxy, in China. 

Her work continues to have a particular focus on the relationship between objects and non-material existence, such as memory and emotion. She takes the making process as a meditation to record her feelings and thoughts about the present, she wants audiences to resonate with that moment. Her research on the relationship between materiality and immateriality gradually became her methodology of making.”

Elephant Mass

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