Making or unmaking? The Contexts of Contemporary Ceramics - Conference in Bergen, Norway
The Contexts of Contemporary Ceramics - Conference 27th - 29th of October 2011
The opposition between studio and industrial ceramics that has had such a central place in the self-understanding of studio ceramists, no longer seems meaningful. A shift from production to reproduction has taken place. Images and patterns from different sources are appropriated and manipulated. Mass-produced objects, often characterized by disuse, disruption and damage, have come to be increasingly used as raw materials. The relationship between artist and artisan has also changed. The conference focuses on the way in which these changes influence contemporary making, and how they contribute to the unmaking of conventional understanding of ceramics and craft practices in general.
SPEAKERS Glenn Adamson, Barnaby Barford, Marek Cecula, Nicole Cherubini, Mònica Gaspar, Tanya Harrod, Ben Highmore, Gitte Jungersen, Søren Kjørup,Carol McNicoll, Kevin Murrey, Andrew Livingstone, Michael Petry, Mike Press, Paul Scott, Ezra Shales, Richard Slee, Caroline Slotte, Linda Sormin, Hans Stofer, Clare Twomey, Jorunn Veiteberg and Anne Britt Ylvisåker.
EXHIBITIONS West Norway Museum of Decorative Art: Thing Tang Trash. Upcycling in Contemporary Ceramics (curator: Heidi Bjørgan); Galleri Rom 8: Kjell Rylander; Hordaland Art Centre: Shot: Textiles and Photography (curator: Glenn Adamson); Galleri Format: The Red Room (curator: Heidi Bjørgan); Galleri Fisk; S12: Young and Loving.
LOCATION Terminus Hall, Hotel Grand Terminus, Bergen, Norway.
PROGRAM Thursday Oct 27, 10.00-18.00 Workshop 1: History Lessons
Glenn Adamson (USA/UK): Ten easy pieces: Postmodernism and the found object Carol McNicoll (UK): Domestic collage Richard Slee (UK): The way he is sourcing things Ezra Shales (USA): The museum as medium-specific muse Clare Twomey: Manufactured not made Caroline Slotte (FI): Long exposure Paul Scott (UK): Willows, windmills and wild roses. Recycling and remediation Tanya Harrod (UK): Memory work: Craft and art in post-industrial Europe
Exhibitions: Thing Tang Trash. Upcycling in Contemporary Ceramics, Art Museums Bergen/Permanenten (19-21)
Friday Oct 28, 9-17 Workshop 2: Object Lessons
Ben Highmore (UK): The poetics of made things Hans Stofer (CH/UK): ’Biting into a cherry does not prepare you for the stone’ Mònica Gaspar (ES/CH): Craft in its gaseous state: An exhibition report Andrew Livingstone: The ceramic regurgitant: sustainability and the readymade Barnaby Barford (UK): Appropriation, narrative and humour Gitte Jungersen (DK): Place to be lost, materiality and meaning in my work Jorunn Veiteberg (NO): The Duchamp effect in ceramics
Exhibition openings: Kjell Rylander Rom 8; B.T.2011, Galleri Format (curator: Heidi Bjørgan); Textiles and Photography, Hordaland Art Center (curator: Glenn Adamson); Young and Loving, Gallery S12.
Saturday, Oct 29 Workshop 3: Institutional Lessons
Michael Petry (UK): The art of not making: The new artist/artisan relationship Marek Cecula (PL): Industrial interventions Anne Britt Ylvisåker (NO): The museum: New potentials Linda Sormin (CA/USA): Chinese Take-out Kevin Murrey (AU): The new do-it-themselves ceramics: throwing out the baby with the mud? Mike Press (UK): Handmade knowledge. The new challenge for craft. Søren Kjørup (DK): A philosophical perspective: A new history, a new order.
The research conference is organized by K-verdi (www.k-verdi.no) at Bergen National Academy of the Arts, in collaboration with Art Museums of Bergen. Supported by the Norwegian Research Council, Bergen National Academy of the Arts, Bergen kommune, Hordaland Fylkeskommune and Norske Kunsthåndverkere.
ENTRY DEADLINE: Friday, November 4th, 2011 (midnight MDT)
To be “On the Edge” is to be balancing yet changing, openly vulnerable and possibly ephemeral, about to plunge into a place that is undefined, unconventional and unexpected. “On the Edge” can be applied to virtually anything, from an impeding natural force to a chemical process, to a human emotion, memory, or condition. The dynamic and ever-changing landscape of the Pacific Northwest is a geographical manifestation of this concept and is at its most vigorous along the shores of Seattle and the Puget Sound-the site of NCECA’s 2012 Conference.
“On the Edge” can also easily be applied to the medium of clay. Of all the materials that artists reach for, it can be argued that clay holds the most fundamental potential: able to immediately respond to the force of a touch, constantly changing and moving on to the next edge of expression.
For the 2012 Projects Space in Seattle, artists are invited to consider the possibilities that lie within the medium of clay and submit works that consider the concept of “On the Edge.” Now in it’s third year, NCECA’s Projects Space is a platform for ceramic artists to present works that embrace the medium not as an end, but as a means of embracing the material as a physical metaphor, allowing it to communicate beyond the expected. Jurors Linda Ganstrom, Marianne McGrath, and Jeffry Mitchell are looking for submissions that not only actively embrace the concept of “On the Edge” using the medium of clay as a central focus, but also engage their materials, processes, and audience in unique and unconventional ways. Artists should keep in mind that the Projects Space Exhibition lies in the Central Hall at the heart of the NCECA Conference, and works are meant to grow and change throughout the duration of the conference.
Five juried and invited artists will be assigned a 10’ x 19’ raw space in the Central Hall of the Seattle Convention Center to create their works during the week of the 2012 NCECA Conference. Artists will have from 9am to 4:30pm Tuesday, March 27th to install their materials and begin their piece. The artists will be featured guests at a reception Tuesday evening. Artists will continue to interact with their materials and piece throughout the conference ending Friday, March 30th at 5pm. Artists will de-install and clean their spaces from 5-9pm that evening.
Selected and invited artists will receive a 2012 Conference Pass and a $500 stipend. The stipend is all-inclusive and is meant to aid in the purchasing of materials for the work, and in the shipping of the work to and from Seattle. Artists will be responsible for all shipping costs and ensuring all their materials are available for the installation to begin at 9am on Tuesday, March 27th. Artists shipping directly to and from the WSCC will make arrangements with NCECA staff, and will incur an additional fee for signing. Artists will receive approval for payment of their stipend based on the condition that their space is left clean, without debris, or leftover materials of any kind. There should be no evidence of the piece remaining in any form. Plastic sheeting will be available for the floor, and the spaces will be clearly delineated.
DisGRAZIE by Bertozzi & Casoni, FaMa Gallery, Verona
DisGRAZIE by Bertozzi & Casoni, FaMa Gallery, Verona 1 October - 12 November 2011
Opening: Friday 30 September, hours 18.00-21.00
On 30th September 2011, from 6pm, FaMa Gallery in Verona holds the opening of the exhibition DisGRAZIE (DisGrace), an original exhibition project by Bertozzi & Casoni, who for the very first time will present a collection of new works investigating the relationship between art and nature and the expressive potential of matter in its multiple plastic and aesthetic meanings. Through an experimental and conceptual reading of ceramic, a practice which has marked the research of the artists since 1980, the exhibition has two main sections: The first consists of sods of earth containing different kinds of sedimentation, including waste and human and animal remains. These groups – where what we usually desire to remove has been buried -, are the humus prolifero from which sprout amazingly beautiful floral microcosms. The second section includes compressions of discarded waste recovered from the “rubbish dump” of the contemporary consumer society (tins, cans and scrap metal); from these heaps of waste emerge succulent plants, waterproof and robust enough to survive attack from the waste and to give it new vigour.
For the DisGrazie project at the FaMa Gallery, Bertozzi & Casoni “forge” an evocative and surreal setting in order to reveal the contradictions and chaos of postmodern life, addressing the recurring theme of vanitas with a unique, exuberant exhibition. All with the help of ceramic, a material that is fragile yet everlasting, which the artists manipulate in hybrid and polymorphous expressive ways with the strong desire to promote osmosis between art and life and to immortalise the transience of existence.
Notes on the artists: Bertozzi & Casoni is a general partnership founded in 1980 in Imola. For thirty years artists have devoted themselves exclusively to ceramic as a possibility for painted sculpture, but in the second half of the 1990s a more conceptual aspect emerged in their work which would stimulate, towards the year 2000, a great turning point: Bertozzi & Casoni abandon the use of majolica to favour the use of ceramic materials of industrial origin. In 2004 they are invited to exhibit at the Tate in Liverpool (A Secret History of Clay) and in 2005 at the XIV Quadriennale in Rome. In 2007 they exhibit at Cà Pesaro, International Gallery of Modern Art in Venice, in 2008 at the Sforza Castle in Milan, in 2009 at the Italian Pavilion of the Venice Biennale, in 2010 at AVA All Visual Arts in London (Vanitas. The transience of Earthly Pleasures), at the Sperone Westwater Gallery in New York (Interval), at the Sperone Gallery in Sent and at the Arnaldo Pomodoro Foundation in Milan (Italian sculpture in the 21st century). In 2011 they exhibit at the Musée des Beaux Arts in Ajaccio (Réflection sur la mort) and are once again invited to the Italian Pavilion of the Venice Biennale.
FaMa Gallery Corso Cavour 25/27, 37121 Verona Tel. +39 045 8030985 Fax +39 045 8011410 firstname.lastname@example.org www.famagallery.com
Corner Series by Wim Borst, Meesterlijk - Design and Craft
Corner Series by Wim Borst at Meesterlijk / RAI Amsterdam, Hall 9 stand 39 24 September - 2 October 2011
Meesterlijk presents designers and craftsmen who elevate ordinary utensils, objects, furniture and accessories to icons with timeless allure. This extraordinary quality of Dutch designers, to combine the esthetic with the practical, has been known worldwide for ages.
Meesterlijk strives to strengthen the bond between modern design and craftsmanship. At the fair designers and manufacturers of handmade products will be standing shoulder to shoulder with the practitioners of traditional crafts, such as jewelry making and woodcarving. Unique furniture and other products are for sale, such as glass, metal and ceramic objects and also fashion accessories, such as tailor made shirts, shoes (ladies and gentlemen’s), hats, bags, jewelry etc.
The fair takes place in the same building and at the same time as Woonbeurs Amsterdam, the largest event on living, interior and garden of The Netherlands.
Opening times: Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday: 10.00 - 18.00 h Thursday and Friday 10.00 - 22.00 h Monday 26 September only open for invited professionals.
Ceramics Now Magazine: You are a very young and talented ceramic artist. Can you tell us what was your first experience with ceramics?
Claire Muckian: Thank you, but I’m not that young actually. I studied art in school, liked it very much but never considered it as a possible career. After many years training and working in various environmental management roles, I began to realise how much I missed making art. So, I returned to the University of Ulster in Belfast to do the BA Fine and Applied Arts with a view to specialising in drawing. There, I had a brief introduction to clay, which I had never used before and had an instant connection with it as a material. I loved how malleable it was and how you could so easily transfer a quality of touch during making. I viewed it as an extension of my drawing practice. So, I made an impulsive decision to specialise in ceramics for my Degree after that.
Constructing using hand-building techniques give your works a sense of delicacy and lightness. How do you make your works? Tell us more about the process.
As I mentioned before, I enjoy making where I can transfer a sensitivity of touch to the material. It is important for me that the sculptures maintain a certain immediacy, vibrancy, and vulnerability that can be achieved easily with drawing, but that tends to be lost when making 3-dimensional work. I think this is the case with ceramics in particular, where so much time and processes are involved. I predominantly choose hand-building techniques such as pinching and coiling so you can build quickly and loosely. I’m not so interested in the perfect surface and I like to achieve an appearance of the handmade. I like the texture of hammered metal and to leave holes and marks like fingerprints. This gives the work an unfinished aesthetic that adds energy and immediacy to what are seemingly primitive works but that still feel fresh and relevant.
I wish to heighten the viewer’s awareness of space, air and silence. I am interested in the viewer’s experience and response to objects, particularly the handmade object. I believe that the viewer finishes these forms off in their mind and participates in their making to a certain degree.
Ceramics Now Magazine: We know that you are a successful ceramic artist and also a scientist. How do you find time and motivation for both of your jobs?
Simcha Even-Chen: Science is a continuous stimulus for me; it has broadened my creativity thinking; it has pushed me to experiment and taught me that patience and perseverance lead to improved results. Art and science are integral parts of my life; although following both careers involved hard work (nights and weekends are dedicated to ceramics). I’m not preparing to give up one or the other. My analytical mind is well attuned to intuitive and creative possibilities; they successfully combine and complement each other.
Ceramics Now Magazine: Your works are investigating the elements of ambiguity and dynamic of opposites, or in other means, they try to mislead the viewer. Can you tell us more about this?
I have always been fascinated by the elusive harmonies created when a precise controlled architectural element is brought together with intricate surface designs and colors to generate the complete object and induce an aesthetic as well as intellectual stimulus. My body of work deals with construction of architectural geometrical shapes, their fragmentation, and the rapport generated when they are combined to form an assemblage. The use of the geometric design on the surface adds another dimension to each object on it own, but also has an impact on the fractures between objects in a group, as the flow of lines and shapes redefines the significance of each shape and gives a visual perception of unity and harmony to the work. The division of the body surface between white and black as well as the use of lines softens the shape. Placing the grid or lines on the edge of the shape, so that the shape flows, completely dissolves the hard lines. Viewed from different angles, surface and volume are blurred, giving an illusion of flatness. While the black sculptures may seem massive and heavy, their weight is light when actually lifted. Their stance appears fragile when placed on their convex side, but they are full of energy and movement. Once again, the duality of heavy-light, stability versus instability, negative and positive shapes, produce contrast between appearance and reality. I am starting on a new line of works dealing with balance, flow and motion. A dialogue between the inside and the outside of the object exists in each work creating flow motion in addition to the dialogue between the objects that developed through the way the objects are placed.
Ceramics Now Magazine: What was the starting point in your investigation with Saggar firing and Terra Sigillata painting?
Shamai Gibsh: Terra sigillata painting intrigued my imagination when I was a teenager. At first, I saw Venetian vases decorated with black and white figures and later with color painting, as part of the history and heritage of the eastern Mediterranean board. Years later, when I was already a ceramic artists, I researched terra sigillata and the rediscovery of it in the 20th century, and started to apply it to my work. I tend not to use glazes in my work, except for exterior mural work. Thus, the use of terra sigillata over the last 15 years enabled me to reach a non shiny and a very appealing color palate, and when fired within saggar vessels in the presence of organic materials or smoked firing, appears to have exiting results. I fire within a saggar, which is an enclosed clay vessel that holds the specific organic material, to get the desired results. Over the years I have used many forms of organic materials like saw dust, salt Marché, pine needles, various seeds and fruits. These days, I mainly use pine needles collected from two forests; one in the Carmel mountains and the other one close to my studio.
Installation “Stelae 2011”, 235x213x55 cm. Stoneware, Terra sigillata, Saggar firing.
Tell us more about the process of constructing your works. Does it take much time, do you have to make many preparations?
The manual part of my work: wheel throwing, hand building murals and sculpting occupy a large part of my time. However, these come after an idea has been formed following considerable thoughts, planning and designing. Naturally, I am influenced by my roots, the immediate cultural and social environment and by the exposure to anything that touches us as human beings. Therefore, yes, it is a lengthy process.
My preference of the use of sagaar firing also contributes to the prolonged preparatory phase in my work. Bone-dried vessels, made out of white stoneware clay, are covered with three layers of terra sigillata, occasionally decorated with copper cuttings and bisque fired to cone 06. Metal soluble are also used for decoration, and the objects are inserted into clay vessels (saggars) which are just a bit larger than the fired object, and filled up with organic materials, mostly pine needles, pretreated with different oxides. I fire in reduction to around 1000C.
Preparation of murals varies. At times terra sigilata is applied in different layers on a plaster board in a reverse pattern, followed by a thin layer of liquid clay. When in a leather-hard state, the board is lifted and cut into tiles, bisque fired and only than saggar fired. In other instances, tiles are painted with terra sigiillata, applied with layers of various copper cutting and even painted with oxides and metal solubles, bisque fired and saggar fired.
Ceramics Now Magazine: Your work with ceramics has been active only in the last three years. What did you do before that? Tell us about your first experience with ceramics.
Mark Goudy: Well, my mother was a potter, starting back in the early 70’s, and so when I was a teenager I was exposed to clay through her work. She had a studio in our basement, with a wheel, kiln, glaze mixing area, etc. I tried throwing on the wheel back then, but I didn’t really connect with the craft aesthetic or the making process during that time. I was more interested in playing music and adventuring outdoors than working with mud.
Somehow thirty years went by before getting my hands back in the clay again. I ended up studying engineering and enjoyed a twenty-year career in the computer industry (designing graphics chips for companies such as Pixar, Silicon Graphics, and nVidia). It wasn’t until a little while after my mother passed away that my wife Liza had the idea of paying homage to her creative spirit by taking a raku class at our local adult school. Pull pieces directly out of a red-hot kiln and drop them into burning sawdust? …sign me up! It was fun performance art, but it was the building process that really drew me in. I started hand-building and designing systems to create forms that reflected my own sensibilities. More classes followed, and within a couple years I left the virtual world of computer engineering and was spending a lot of time in the clay studio. It was refreshing to be working with such a physical material and in a process where every piece created embodies its own unique identity.
Three Vessels - clockwise from left: (m70) 7”w x 3”h; (m81) 10.5”w x 4”h; (m71) 8”w x 3.5”h
You usually work with soluble metal salts, that give impressive shapes and patterns. How do you make the pieces?
I may have been influenced by my experience in computer graphics, where you can render all sorts of interesting objects composed from intersecting curved surfaces, but early on I wanted to get away from the radially symmetric forms that come about from working with the wheel. So I learned about slab construction and ended up making a series of special hump molds (by pouring plaster into stretchy fabric suspended through triangular cutouts in plywood) to shape the clay. These molds enabled me to construct forms out of asymmetric parabolic curved surfaces, which had immediate appeal. My basic process is to shape, and then join these surfaces together to make my rounded vessels. The arcs in these pieces are designed to fit the sweep of my hand as I burnish the surface by rubbing with a smooth stone. For now, I enjoy working in a scale that fits easily into the hands, with forms that feel like waterworn stones.
"The process of working in clay is a grounding experience that focuses my attention in the present moment, but also is a tangible thread that connects across time with twenty thousand years of ceramists who preceded me.
My work is an exploration in shape and pattern, using the enclosed vessel as the underlying form. These vessels are constructed from asymmetric curved surfaces that project a unique contour with each viewing angle. The interior space is intentionally hidden, leaving the contents to the imagination, metaphorically containing perhaps hopes, dreams, or spirits. These rounded shapes are meant to be held and, when set on a flat surface, gently rock before coming to rest at their own natural balance point.
My approach is to combine ancient methods of stone-burnishing and earthenware firing with computer-aided shape design to produce talismans that fuse traditional and modern aesthetics. Surface markings are created by painting water-soluble metal salts on bisque-fired clay. These watercolors permeate the clay body, and become a permanent part of the surface when fired. I have a strong affinity for intricate abstract patterns, ones that can’t be fully comprehended with a single glance, an invitation to in-depth exploration.
These ceramic forms echo the geometries of nature: waterworn stones, shells, seedpods, expansive desert landscapes, the Milky Way on a moonless night.” Mark Goudy