Ceramic Impressions by Judy DiBiase / BDA Dental Museum, London, UK
February 23 - May 24, 2012
Works in porcelain inspired by the collections of the BDA Dental Museum and its visitors.
London based ceramic artist Judy DiBiase has been working with the museum to capture the visitor’s different reactions to the museum’s collections and the memories the objects provoke. These have then provided part of the inspiration for Judy’s own response, in ceramics, to the museum’s collection which can be seen on show in the museum and around the BDA.
“Objects make us think. We think of the time and place when they were used, their purpose and method of use. They evoke memory, acting as a catalyst for a host of experiences that are revived by interaction.
The BDA Dental Museum houses a fantastic and fascinating array of objects that are connected to my memories. My father, David DiBiase was a leading orthodontist; I grew up surrounded by images of teeth. Plaster impressions in green boxes, diagrams and x-rays of displaced incisors and canines. I remember Dad dictating letters and storing dental notes in brown files. Looking at the museum collection my memories become heightened and vivid.
My practice is concerned with how memories can be drawn out by objects. Memories layer to inform an emotional understanding of ourselves and our environment. I have worked with the Museum collection, recording people’s reactions to objects which are connected by the observer to personal incidents and events. My work is exhibited alongside the collections, so taking it out of a traditional art gallery setting.
History can be seen in the significant macro events with which we are all familiar from school. However those events were frequently remote from those they affected. I am fascinated by the routine objects which were, and are, familiar to so many of us, to which we can directly relate and which provoke direct personal memories. Working with the tools of the dental trade, toothbrushes and teeth, seeing and hearing people’s reactions to them enhances the sense of these objects being a microcosm of social history. Each object is embedded in the technology and social conditioning of its time but is brought to life by the individual reaction of the observer.
Ceramic piece inspired by an extraction tool in the museumThe connection between the act of making and dentistry has proved to be irresistible. My work is directly linked to the collection through my own use of porcelain and to my own memories through my use of my father’s dental instruments to create and record.
The pieces of work are all derived from drawings of the museum collection as well as drawings inspired by people’s stories. The drawing itself acts as a remembrance as it is re-worked and rubbed out leaving a trace on the paper. The drawings are then translated onto clay pieces, some require interaction and “extraction” to be fully experienced. Use of text is an important element of my work. The text is overheard conversations at the museum, as well as the written memories of visitors’ experiences of the dentist and dentistry. One piece uses work produced by school children during a visit to the museum.
The ceramic works exhibited alongside the collection are a reaction to and a memory of the experience of the museum.” Judy DiBiase
Judy is the course leader for the Foundation Diploma In Art and Design at Kingston College and is currently undertaking an MA in Contemporary Craft Practice at UCA Farnham. Her father was David Dibiase.
Tel. 020 7535 5860
BDA Dental Museum
British Dental Association
64 Wimpole Street
London W1G 8YS
Above: Untitled work, Judy DiBiase, Porcelain, 2012