2. Zhu Ohmu
Looking at Zhu Ohmu’s work, it would be easy to imagine her delicate curved forms drew inspiration solely from the natural world. But in fact, it was modern technology that served as the starting point for her signature ‘coiling’ technique. “Back in 2015 or 2016, I was seeing a lot of 3D-printed videos online,” recalls Ohmu. “I was quite inspired by how the coils were laid on top of each other, so I decided to imitate this mechanised process by hand.”
But while 3D printing starts with a finished form in mind, Ohmu’s work evolves as she creates it. “I started with a simple exercise of laying coils on top of each other like a machine would,” she explains. “Unlike a machine where the printer would have a pre-programmed structure, I work from a more intuitive place. I make what I feel would work, and these quite organic and lopsided forms came out from the clay.”
Ohmu, who was born in Taipei, Taiwan, and grew up in New Zealand, originally studied painting and drawing at the University of Auckland’s Elam School of Fine Arts. After moving to Melbourne following her graduation however, she began to experiment with other mediums. There was just something about clay that captivated her.
“I just loved the tactile nature of it,” she says. “I love how it’s really simple physics: you touch this medium and there’s a reaction to that touch — and something that is formless becomes form. That’s quite different to the painting and drawing that I was used to. It’s more intuitive; pushing and playing around with it, you learn how to compromise with it.”