The Project

Through form and decorative narrative in chinoiserie we can discuss value and taste, fantasy, replication and stereotyping of images. So too, the darker elements of chinoiserie’s historical routes; identity politics, racism, trade and production values, authorship and the contested territory of exoticism. This project looks to unpick these themes through contemporary art, to shed light on how pervasive Chinese culture, industry and aesthetics are in our everyday lives.

Sinopticon works as a long term project founded by artists Gayle Chong Kwan and Stephanie Douet and curator Eliza Gluckman. Today the project is curated, researched and continually developed by Eliza Gluckman and Lucy Day (Day&Gluckman), a curatorial partnership in collaboration with partners. We look to commission new works, curate exhibitions, respond to the historical and create new dialogues. The blog is run by one of the founding artists, Stephanie Douet.

Couriers of Taste

Following the success of the exhibition, SINOPTICON {Plymouth}, we developed an exhibition for Danson House (Bexley Heritage Trust) in Kent responding to strands of the SINOPTICON project; namely taste, collecting and trade. The house was built on money from sugar plantations as a status symbol and homage to pleasure. The exhibition included works commissioned for SINOPTICON, such as Laura Whites phenomenal 24 plinthed sculptures as well as new commissions and artists: April-October 2013. See the Exhibition page


If you are not aware of the brilliant work of Emil de Bruijn, an NT expert on chinoiserie and author of a new book on Chinese wallpapers, then do check out his blog. He’s the man for the history… here


Did you pocket the sun(flower seed)?

To celebrate Chinese New Year and herald Couriers of Taste opening at Danson House, Bexley Heritage Trust and Day + Gluckman launched a successful appeal to anyone with ceramic sunflower seeds from Ai WeiWei’s eponymous 2010 Tate Modern installation to lend them for part of the exhibition – we attracted a lot of seeds all with their own stories… and quite a bit of press.

Read more Seed Appeal


Project Timeline

2014 SINOPTICON is in an exciting development phase – we are in discussions for new manifestations in London and abroad…

April-October, 2013 – Couriers of Taste opens at Danson House

February 2013Ai WeiWei sunflower seed appeal launched 

2013Couriers of Taste at Danson House, Bexleyheath, Kent: April – October 2013

2012SINOPTICON {Plymouth} - a multi-venue exhibition at Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery, Plymouth College of Art, Plymouth Arts Centre and National Trust’s Saltram House: 28 April to 7 July 2012

Suki Chan – Gayle Chong Kwan – Stephanie Douet – Christian Jankowski, Isaac Julien – WESSIELING – Grayson Perry – Ed Pien –  Meekyoung Shin, Karen Tam – Erika Tan – Tsang KinWah – Laura White – READ MORE

2011 - Commissioning – new works by Gayle Chong Kwan, Stephanie Douet, Tsang KinWah, WESSIELING, Ed Pien, Karen Tam, Erika Tan and Laura White

September-November 2011OCAT Residency, Shenzhen, China – Paula Orrell, curator Plymouth Arts Centre

January 2011 – Eliza curated the Friday Late at the V&A. See the images on V&A Friday Late Flickr page

January/February 2011 – Residency/Workshop at the Chinese Arts Centre: Gayle Chong Kwan and Stephanie Douet

October 2010 – Sinopticon events launched with a symposium at London’s V&A Museum, asking what contemporary chinoiserie means in contemporary art.

You can download the OVERVIEW of the Symposium – please see the Symposium page