The most impressive chess game since Ron sacrificed himself during that heart-wrenching game of Wizards’ Chess in Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone is coming to Wellington. Nova Jiang presents her latest exhibition Orthogonal/Diagonal, a range of 3D printed playable chess sets.
The Chinese artist moved to New Zealand at a young age. She graduated from the University of Auckland with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and went on to gain a Masters degree from the University of California. Although she enjoys experimenting with art forms, her favourite creations include tactile and creative participation from the audience where improvisation by the public can enhance her works. Her exhibitions have been displayed globally, and throughout some of the world’s most prestigious galleries, including the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts.
For her most recent work, she took inspiration from regional variants of chess found all over Asia and the globe, and digitally generates their format into three-dimensional, playable games. Whilst each variation varies slightly, they still resemble the traditional game, much in the same way as wizard chess resembles regular chess. i.e. basically the same game but the pieces move of their own accord and magically smash each other rather than just the usual “checkmate”.
Jiang has managed to reimagine the games as sculpture, and has used a digital sculptural system to generate game pieces that convey their rules of movement and capture. She has made the games entirely interactive, so that visitors to the exhibit can play the various chess types, and a few attendees can even compete in a tournament during the showing. Sure, she is no Ron Weasley, but Nova Jiang has made chess considerably more exciting.