The artist’s latest ceramic works, Garniture/Fake Ginger Jars (2020 – ongoing) (referencing sets of decorative objects popular from the late 17th century all through the 19th century) probes deeper into the collector’s domestic treasures. It is particularly resonant with this country’s passion for taste-making through collecting. As Baudrillard claims, nostalgia for origins and the obsession with authenticity are the two distinct features of the mythology of collecting antique, decorative objects. Ginger jars originated from around 200BCE China, however the term itself is a Western invention. At the height of Chinoiserie in the 18th century, Chinese ceramics like the ginger jar became sought-after decorative objects. It created a new export industry on the southern coast of China where ceramists produced specific designs tailored to European tastes for merchants to bring back home as souvenirs. 

As Ashton shrewdly notes, they are intrinsically inauthentic, just like the jars she creates. Fantastical creatures with ormolu made not of gold on bases made of cardboard, yet as a set of garnitures, they strengthen each other’s credibility and sense of certainty. 

Janice Li, 2022