Interview with Kimberly Cook - Artist of the month, May 2012

ARTIST OF THE MONTH, May 2012: Kimberly Cook

/ Read the full interview in Ceramics Now - Issue Two

Ceramics Now Magazine
: Do you remember your first encounter with ceramics? What made you choose this particular way of expressing yourself?

Kimberly Cook: My first encounter with ceramics was when I was a child. During my family’s summer holiday, my parents would take my sister and I on a very long drive from Texas to Ohio, to visit my father’s family. I remember being so excited when we arrived in Ohio, because it meant that I was going to be able to visit my aunt Coby’s ceramic studio. She had an incredible ceramic studio set up in her basement, where she taught workshops. I remember loving the smell of the wet clay, being surrounded by an endless array of colorful glazes, china paints, gold, silver, and pearl lusters, and tools that enabled her students to create anything they wanted out of this wondrous natural material that was easy to form and smelled sweetly of the earth. I was enthralled with the medium, and wanted to learn the techniques of creating both my own sculptural and functional forms.

Another vivid childhood memory of being exposed to ceramics was seeing the traveling King Tut exhibit. I was drawn to the ceramic Bes deity pots and their use in the home as a protector of women and children. For the first time, even in mynaiveté, I realized that there could exist a “conceptual” aspect to creating these forms. What also intrigued me were the marl ceramics of the second Naqada period, which were decorated with reddish-brown drawings that developed from the early geometric forms to less abstract images. Among some of my favorite are those that depicted oared boats transporting what has been interpreted as deities, and the decorations that included people and animals.

Working in clay has become a cathartic way of expressing myself, and because of this, I will never stop using it as my primary mode of self-expression. From these early childhood memories and tangible encounters, I found a palpable love of ceramic materials, which sustain me to this day.

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Kimberly Cook Contemporary Ceramics - Interview for Ceramics Now Magazine

Trophy, 2011, Ceramic, mason stain, gold luster, 35” x 23” x 20” - View her works

Your works are figurative and often have a narrative quality. But trying to convey a certain message without using words can be difficult for an artist. Do you sometimes fear that people will fail to understand the meaning of your works? How outspoken should a work of art be?

I use to be concerned that viewers would fail to understand my work, but not anymore. After your work has been censored and removed from a gallery, you start to understand that that is actually a compliment. You have struck a nerve; a message got across to a viewer, understood or misunderstood, doesn’t matter. What created that shift in thought for me was the fact that I realized that everyone is going to have their own experience viewing my work, their own perception, and their own opinions. I am okay with that – to me that is what good art is about. If it moves someone, great; if it disturbs someone, great – I want my work to encourage people to go inside of themselves and ponder and reflect before reaching any hard and fast conclusions.
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Interview with Jill Beute Koverman, McKissick Museum - Walter Stephen’s work / Review

REVIEW, May 2012:

/ Read more reviews in Ceramics Now - Issue Two

Interview with Jill Beute Koverman, Chief Curator of Collections and Research, McKissick Museum - Walter B. Stephen’s work

by Vasi Hîrdo

You have been working at the University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum for over ten years. What are the main responsibilities and attributes of being the Chief Curator of Collections & Research?

Jill Beute Koverman: As Chief Curator of Collections and Research, my responsibilities include overseeing the research and care for the permanent collections. The permanent collections include natural science collections (rocks, minerals, fossils, meteorites and shells) and material culture collections which include fine art, furniture, textiles (clothing, quilts, other domestic textiles, baskets, shoes, accessories), ceramics, glass, metal objects, political materials, silver and objects relating to the history of the University of South Carolina. I guide and implement the collecting activities of the museum in terms of new acquisitions and research, identify long-term care needs of the collections in terms of conservation and storage, and work with my colleagues on various exhibition projects. My research focus is on Southern pottery but I’m knowledgeable about traditional basket traditions of the South, South Carolina history and politics, and University history. In a mid-size institution like McKissick Museum, and particularly at a University, it is important to constantly learn about the various types of museum collections.

During the 26th of May and the 27th of July, USC’s McKissick Museum will host a very important exhibition of rare 20th century ceramics made by Walter B. Stephen. Tell us about the heritage of Walter’s work.

/ Read the press release of the exhibition.
Walter Stephen was born in Nebraska in 1876. His family moved to 100 acres of land in Shelby County, Tennessee in 1897. It was on this property where he discovered layers of pink, white and yellow clay. His intellectual and creative curiosity was fostered by his mother. Nellie Stephen was an amateur artist who taught blackboard art and painting. Walter did not begin working with clay until he was twenty-seven years old (1903). Together, Walter and his mother began experimenting with the clay and the decorating process. It is also possible that the two had seen George Ohr, “the Mad Potter of Biloxi,” demonstrating his pottery skills at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in 1904. Originally named, “Stephen and Son,” they renamed their pottery “Nonconnah” after the local creek. The forms were typical decorative vases and pitchers of the period. The decoration was different as Mrs. Stephen’s painted layers of porcelain slip onto the wares, often adding colored oxides for leaves and branches. This paste on paste, or cameo, technique was similar to the original method employed by Josiah Wedgwood for his Jasperwares. In 1910, Walter’s parents died and he continued to operate the Nonconnah pottery in Tennessee until 1912. A year later, he moved to the Skyland community of North Carolina, south of Asheville, and established the Nonconnah Pottery in partnership with Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Pine Ryman. At this iteration of the Nonconnah Pottery, Stephen continued to work at the potter’s wheel, creating matte glazed cameo wares until 1916. The Ryman’s operated the Nonconnah until 1918, producing molded and slab constructed wares with simple blue and brown glazes.

Walter B Stephen Ceramics - McKissick Museum

Walter B. Stephen, Three stoneware vases with crackle glaze. Courtesy McKissick Museum, University of South Carolina.

It would be almost a decade after Stephen’s departure from Nonconnah before he established the Pisgah Forest Pottery. During this period, he became closely associated with Oscar L. Bachelder of the Omar Khayyam Pottery. Walter worked for a short time with Bachelder but did not want to make utilitarian pottery. It was also during the early 1920s, that he was experimenting with local clay,glazes and firing techniques. Fragments from his Arden home indicate his interest in the Chinese celadon and red glazes.

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Interview with Teresa & Helena Jané - Spotlight, May 2012

SPOTLIGHT, May 2012: Teresa & Helena Jané

/ Read the full interview in Ceramics Now - Issue Two

Ceramics Now Magazine
: You have been working with ceramic jewelry and knobs for over 10 years. How did you discover the passion for beautifully crafted objects?

THJane: I suppose it comes from our childhood. We grew up surrounded by photographs, books, stamps and original objects. Some had been brought up from the place where we’re born, Angola, in Africa.

Our dad was an architect, and mum was a teacher of arts and crafts. They invested strongly in our education for the discovery and exploration of unique artistic sensibilities, and we always felt responsible for giving them a well deserved response. We studied piano for several years and used to go to classical music concerts every weekend.
We also had the opportunity to learn and practice woodwork and woodcut, ceramics and basketry, weaving and dressmaking, bookbinding, painting and engraving, and so many other useful things.

Years later, we set up THJané project and, until today, we still live with the feeling of achievement that comes with creating things of beauty, you say, with our own hands.

Teresa and Helena Jane Ceramics - Interview Ceramics Now Magazine

060710, 2011, Ceramic and soutache, carved and hand-painted, H 4,5 x 2,4 x 2,4” - View their works

Working as a group has plenty of advantages, but sometimes it may be challenging. How do you divide your work? Who is responsible for what part of the constructing process?

After 10 years of intense activity, Teresa usually comes to be responsible by the development of ideas and by the exploration of painting techniques. Also drawing and sculpture. And I (Helena), by the choice of materials and techniques of production, studies of color and by the preparation and application of glazes.
Sure it can bring some comfort. Yet, new works often requires us to change roles and also to work together. Breaking routines and try new things have always encouraged us. Therefore, any of us can accomplish any task at any time.
Besides, it also reduces uncertainty about the capabilities of each other, allowing to have a greater respect for individuality and free expression. This is very important, specially when we seek the necessary consensus in our work.

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Interview with Debra Fleury - New artist, May 2012

NEW ARTISTS, May 2012: Debra Fleury

/ Read the full interview in Ceramics Now - Issue Two

Ceramics Now Magazine: Growing up near the ocean around natural diversity and continuous change, you have developed a very finite line of work. Do you visualize your work from the very beginning?

Debra Fleury: I spend a lot of time sketching and planning. My sketches can be very specific and architectural, or very loose and gestural. But ultimately, I am an intuitive thinker. I rely on feeling and instinct in my artwork. When I sit down with clay the careful preparation is put aside in favor of the moment. Once I have the clay in my hands, I am often swept away by the possibilities I encounter as the clay begins to express its properties.

Do you remember the first ceramic piece that you created? How did it look like and how do you feel about your evolution as a ceramic artist?

I remember the first piece I created that had an impact on me. It was a little pinch pot, a half sphere and nicely formed. It was so perfect, likely the best I had made to date. I wondered what would happen if I dropped it while it was still malleable. I decided to indulge this impulse and I let my little pinch pot fall. The perfectly round rim became this very interesting, offset elliptical shape in response to the force of the impact. After it was fired it retained the mark of that force. It looked plastic, but it was solid.
 
This experience helped me recognize the approach that I wanted to take with this medium — to enjoy the process and avoid feeling that the work is precious. The visual aspect of the work is compelling to me, but the process is the lure.

Debra Fleury Ceramics - Interview for Ceramics Now Magazine

Tidal, 2011, Dark Stoneware, Porcelain and glass. Fired to cone 6, wall installation. Dimensions variable, average size per individual piece is approximately 10x10x8 cm - View her works

When constructing a new piece, you are using different materials such as clay, glass and glaze. What challenges you the most by combining these materials?

I love the unknown. I love being surprised by the materials and I love experimenting. Combining clay bodies with different shrink rates, adding glass, or using glaze in an unconventional way are a few of the methods I use when courting disaster or looking for insight. I push the materials toward something that I think will be interesting, but I never really know what will happen. Opening the kiln after a firing can be like meeting the work for the first time.
 

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Interview with Max Cheprack, Clay extrusion - Techniques, May 2012

TECHNIQUES, May 2012: Max Cheprack

/ Read more articles in Ceramics Now - Issue Two

Ceramics Now Magazine
: You are studying Industrial Design at the Holon Institute of Technology, Israel, and recently you underwent a research project on clay extrusion. What are its concepts? Tell us about the technical process.

Max Cheprack
: The extruding clay project started in the third year of my studies, for B.design in industrial design, when I first met the manual extruder in ceramics course. After learning various techniques in the field of ceramic design, I was fascinated by the option to create clay objects using replication. The Semi-industrial process of extruding clay enables the creation of precise and complex objects easily and quickly. Extrusion allows me to design the inside of the object, something that the rest of the techniques do not allow. Extruding technology allows to produce a closed and complex object, and therefore very strong. This allows the expansion of production beyond the products we know today. In addition, this technology brings new aesthetic to the ceramic field.

As an Industrial designer who is interested in manufacturing technologies, I moved away from the dies that come with the manual extruder Kit, and I began to assemble a set of basic dies with complex shapes. Later, I have built an extruder which works on pneumatic piston, in order to free both of my hands. This allows me to make variety of manipulations on the objects like bending and cutting.
In order to explore the limits of this technology, I decided to make a stool. The stool is a challenging product for extruding clay process because it is a relatively big product, which must be strong enough to bear persons weight, and should be able to connect with other materials.

My inspiration is taken from a local element of the Middle East - Mashrabiya. Though the project ended as part of my design studies, for me he is a starting point to new possibilities in ceramic design.

Max Cheprack Ceramics - Clay extrusion

Max Cheprack, Chairs made with the extruding machine

What was the most difficult part in creating the necessary tools for the project? Did you get any help?

The hardest part in this project was to understand the size relation between the size of the die and the amount of power that needed to push the clay. First I played with the manual extruder that we have in our workshop and then I made different dies to check how complex things can be. After realizing clearly how things are working I wanted to make the next step towards an extruder that will free both my hands to make manipulations on the objects while it is being extruded. I consulted with an engineer who just gave me a headache with schemes numbers and stuff that I couldn’t understand, so I decided to use a pneumatic piston as my base for the machine and after many trails with different pistons and die sizes I made one small extruder and one big extruder.

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Pisgah Forest and Nonconnah: The Potteries of Walter B. Stephen / McKissick Museum

Pisgah Forest and Nonconnah: The Potteries of Walter B. Stephen exhibition / McKissick Museum

Pisgah Forest and Nonconnah: The Potteries of Walter B. Stephen / University of South Carolina McKissick Museum, Columbia, SC, USA
May 26 – July 27, 2012

Some of the most imaginative and beautiful ceramics of the 20th century will be on display in an exhibition of Walter B. Stephen’s pottery May 26 – July 27 at the University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum.

Titled “Pisgah Forest and Nonconnah: The Potteries of Walter B. Stephen,” the exhibition will feature 76 rare examples of Stephen’s works, from the first pots that he fired near Nonconnah Creek in Tennessee to crystalline vessels produced at Pisgah Forest near Asheville.

Stephen, born in 1876 in Clinton, Iowa, was heavily influenced by his mother, but he  soon began exploring and developing his own creative talents. In 1904, he established the Nonconnah Pottery in Tennessee, where he and his mother produced “paste on paste” cameo wares similar to Wedgwood’s Jasperwares. In 1913, he moved to the Asheville area, where he produced a variety of pottery until his death in1961.

The early Nonconnah pieces are dominated by matte-green glazes with floral designs. The later works made at the Pisgah Forest Pottery range from small, brightly glazed teapots and cups to monumental baptismal fonts. Cameo depictions of the American West include covered wagons, Indians hunting Buffalo and portraits of Bill Cody. Stephen also used imagery of the South such as mountain cabins, fiddlers and Gen. Robert E. Lee. His forms and glazes, particularly the crystalline glaze, were inspired by Asian ceramics.

Two events are planned in connection with the exhibition:

On June 21, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. the museum will host a reception, a gallery talk and a book signing featuring Rodney Leftwich, author of “Pisgah Forest and Nonconnah: The Potteries of Walter B. Stephen.”

From 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Friday, June 22, McKissick will host a symposium, “The Art of Collecting Southern Pottery.”  Leftwich, Karen Swager of Brunk Auctions, crystalline potter Frank Neef, Winton Eugene and Rosa Eugene of Pottery by Eugene, and Barbara S. Perry, who writes about  American ceramics, will participate.

The symposium is $40 for museum members and $50 for non-members.

Museum Hours: Monday-Friday: 8:30 am - 5 pm. Saturday: 11 am - 3 pm. Closed Sundays and all University and State holidays.
Open to the public free of charge.

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Ehren Tool: Production or Destruction / Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles

Ehren Tool: Production or Destruction exhibition Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles

Ehren Tool: Production or Destruction / Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles, USA
May 27 – September 9, 2012

Former Marine and ceramist Ehren Tool exhibits war awareness work at CAFAM.

Opening reception: Saturday, May 26, 6 – 9 pm.

“The best way to destroy your enemy is to make him your friend.” – Abraham Lincoln

Coinciding with Memorial Day, the Craft and Folk Art Museum (CAFAM) presents Ehren Tool: Production or Destruction, a solo exhibition of ceramist and former Marine, Ehren Tool. Emblazoned with the haunting imagery of armed conflict, Tool creates handmade ceramic cups as a medium to address war and the violent rhetoric and imagery used to perpetuate it. The exhibition will feature 1,000 handcrafted cups, video, installation, photographs, and printed materials.

Twenty years after his service in the first Gulf War, Tool’s firsthand contact with the reality of war is manifest in the thousands of cups he dutifully produces. The cups will be exhibited at CAFAM in “units” based on military formations of “squads” (13), “platoons” (55), and “companies” (225), serving as a visual reminder of each Marine within a military unit. Each cup is uniquely crafted, decorated with ceramic decals of soldiers’ photos, propaganda, war porn, and sculptural reliefs shaped like bombs, guns, or medals.

Recent events such as the Occupy movements and the incendiary language of current election campaigns figure strongly in his new work, as well as veteran suicides and stories of U.S. Marines desecrating bodies of the deceased. Other imagery alludes to the culpability of video games, toys, and pornography in desensitizing the public to the emotional toll of war.

Tool insists that his art is not anti-war, and prefers to characterize it as “war awareness” work. “It is not my intention to teach or preach. It is not possible to communicate the pain, waste, or intensity of war. My work deals with the uneasy collision, and collusion, between military and civilian cultures,” he says.

By putting people in contact with the imagery of war through an everyday household item, he hopes to make people think more often about war and it’s consequences in a meaningful way. “Letter to President Obama” (2009) is among the several letters he wrote to national and corporate heads urging them to consider the outcome of supporting continued war efforts. He also sent a cup to each of these leaders, which elicited responses from politicians such as Karl Rove.

Though the cups are functional drinking vessels, they are also memory objects that contain unspoken stories about fallen soldiers and wounded survivors. The installation “393” (2004) is a striking display of 393 shattered cups that represent the number of U.S. combat casualties during the first year of the second Gulf War. In the video “1.5 Second War Memorial,” a different cup is shot to pieces every 1.5 seconds, each signifying a soldier or civilian who has died in a war.

Tool will be on-site at CAFAM for an artist residency between June 1 and June 15, where he will set up a ceramic studio in the courtyard to encourage public conversations and share his work in progress. He will be giving away all the cups he makes at CAFAM.

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Oh la la - Majolica… a Pottery Slam, by Peder Rasmussen and Michael Geertsen / Copenhagen Ceramics

Oh la la - Majolica & a Pottery Slam, by Peder Rasmussen and Michael Geertsen at Copenhagen Ceramics

Oh la la - Majolica … a Pottery Slam, by Peder Rasmussen and Michael Geertsen / Copenhagen Ceramics, Denmark
May 24 - June 16, 2012

Artists talk: Saturday, 26 May at 2 pm.

With their common educational background in the now almost vanished pottery tradition, Danish ceramists Michael Geertsen and Peder Rasmussen are challenging themselves and each other in an exhibition-tour-de-force within a classic ceramics discipline, the Majolica – tradition. Not only have they produced their individual works – but occasionally they have left the decorating of their own pieces to the other.

Michael Geertsen and Peder Rasmussen both belong to the small group of  contemporary ceramists, who also apprenticed as potters  – in their certificates termed as free-hand-throwers.
As young they found themselves in a world of age-old crafts and were thus among the last links in a very long chain.

Speaking of this, they say: ’We both share great love of classic pottery; of the idea of the vessel and the ceramic figure as artistic medium, even in a world being ever more technological, as far from our starting point as can be imagined. Does this show in our work?  Is there any reminiscence  of something archetypical still present in our otherwise highly contemporary expression? In our own opinion, yes!  We actually insist that our education within a tradition-bound craft has imbued us
with a deep respect for  professionalism. It has also provided us with a reservoir of references – possibilities for ’professional quoting’. Anything goes. With the apprenticeship-certificate as baggage, we know that there are lots of unoccupied seats within the space of tradition’.

This time both ceramists work with Majolica, the age-old technique of white-glazed and decorated earthenware, known especially from the Italian renaissance. From the great artists of the Della Robbia dynasty or the Deruta-workshops. Hispano-Mauresque faience, too, has been in their view with its ornamentation, lustres and other metallic effects. The technique itself tempts with a richness of colour unequalled in other techniques, thus offering possibilities for new stories, stylistic approaches and quotes.

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Craft Spoken Here / Philadelphia Museum of Art

Craft Spoken Here exhibition at Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, USA

Craft Spoken Here / Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, USA
May 5 - August 12, 2012

Crafts were prominent among the first works of art to enter the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art when it was founded in 1876, and the Museum has continued to collect and exhibit crafts. Today, thanks in large part to the Women’s Committee and gifts from individuals, the Museum is particularly well-known for its holdings of twentieth-and twenty-first-century American, European, and Asian craft.

With Craft Spoken Here, the Museum seizes the opportunity to experiment with its collection and to understand craft in an international context. Some forty contemporary works from 1960 to the present in ceramic, glass, metal, wood, lacquer, paper, and fiber—some by living, acclaimed artists and others by lesser-known creators—are on view. Representing the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Europe, the works highlight formal qualities that cross cultures, time, and media.

Craft Spoken Here features an array of engaging education programs and interpretive materials, including on-site artist demonstrations and hands-on craftmaking activities for the public.

The exhibition is divided into three sections. Essential Element looks at continuing importance of line—the graphic gesture—as an expressive and compositional element in the work of artists. Rebecca Medel’s The One (1985) uses a network of lines to form a dense cube of knotted cotton and linen threads, dark on its fringes and progressively lighter towards the center, which creates the illusion of a luminous sphere floating in an atmospheric haze. The second section, Shape Shifting, includes works in clay, glass, wood, metal, paper, and fiber materials that have been fashioned into sculptural forms. Motoko Maio’s Kotodama (2008) is a folding screen in silk and linen that can be adjusted to divide a room, provide privacy, or rest decoratively in a corner. The final section is Gesture, which includes works that offer visual and emotional cues, such as the chaotic, seemingly uncontrollable framework of Jessica Jane Julius’s Static (c. 2008), in which hundreds of black glass flameworked threads combine in a sculptural evocation of the artist’s reoccurring dream.

Curator
Elisabeth Agro, The Nancy M. McNeil Associate Curator of American Modern and Contemporary Crafts and Decorative Arts

The exhibition is made possible by The Leonard and Norma Klorfine Foundation Fund for Modern and Contemporary Craft. Additional support is provided by the Windgate Charitable Foundation and the Center for American Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In-kind support is provided courtesy of Lion Brand Yarn.

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Langenthal retrospective / Musée Ariana, Geneva, Switzerland

The Langenthal porcelain manufactory. From industrial design to Sunday china, Musee Ariana, Geneva

Langenthal retrospective / Musée Ariana, Geneva, Switzerland
May 23 - November 25, 2012

Opening reception: Wednesday, May 22 at 6.30 pm.

#1
The Langenthal porcelain manufactory. From industrial design to Sunday china

The fascinating history of the only 20th century Swiss porcelain factory began in 1906 in the Bernese town of Langenthal. Deeply rooted in the Swiss identity, the porcelain manufactory Langenthal SA – affectionately known by its workers as the “Porzi” – became noted for its cutting-edge technology, the diversity of its products as well as the quality of its porcelain. The artistic output followed the dominant aesthetic currents of the century while still preserving its local character. From Art Nouveau and Art Deco to the deliciously “vintage” designs of the 1950s and 1960s, from pseudo-rustic to avant-garde propositions, from collaborations with artists and designers to the influence of the artistic directors of the manufactory, the history of Langenthal is closely linked to the evolution of taste.

This collaboration with the Langenthal manufactory has been an opportunity to update the rich archives : hand-painted design books, catalogues of forms and motifs, publicity leaflets and brochures, archive photos. Loans from public and private institutions enrich and complete the important collection of the Musée Ariana (over 1000 pieces). All the conditions have been met to allow a portrait to be drawn of 20th century industrial porcelain in Switzerland.

The History of A Courageous Project
When some notables of the Bernese town of Langenthal decided to found a porcelain manufactory in July 1906, they were armed with a good dose of courage and staunch enthusiasm. Indeed, after a century without any porcelain manufacture in Switzerland, there were no raw materials and, more particularly, no specialized local workforce available. They had to start completely from scratch in order to rewrite Switzerland into the porcelain history books.

After a chaotic start, production became more organized and the manufactory began displaying its goods in specialized exhibitions and fairs with encouraging success. The outbreak of the First World War curbed this momentum. In 1937, in order to reduce its dependence on imported coal, the manufactory constructed the first 24-hour electric tunnel kiln. This technological breakthrough allowed the company to increase and diversify its production.
After the Second World War, the manufactory enjoyed a heyday. The remarkable quality of the Swiss-made products enabled it to fight off the competitors. In 1964, the firm recorded the highest number of employees in its history, with 950 workers.

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Mircea Cantor – Special Event at Transilvania International Film Festival 2012 / Cluj-Napoca, Romania
June 1-10, 2012

The Romanian artist often compared with Marcel Duchamp and scouted by the world’s distinguished galleries and museums, Mircea Cantor, will star in one of TIFF 2012’s special events.

For the first time, a few of his video works will be screened in Romania, outside the space they were initially conceived for – the gallery. The artist will attend the screening, giving the audience in Cluj a chance to meet him and take part in discussions.

„Mircea Cantor is on the gallery of Romanian artists who are far more known and valued abroad than in their home country. (…) The screening of his video short films in a cinema is a special program at TIFF by which we try to fix this abnormality”, says the artistic director of the festival, Mihai Chirilov.

The audience will be able to view at Cluj eight of his video works, already included in the prestigious galleries and museums of the world as part of other exhibitions: 9+1=10? (2003-2005), Dead Time (2003), Departure (2005), Double Heads Matches (2002-2003), Nulle part ailleurs (2000), Sic Transit Gloria Mundi (2012), The Snow and the Man (2005), Tracking Happiness (2009).

Mircea Cantor creates images that are at once crystalline in their clarity, yet deeply paradoxical. They are concerned with issues of memory, history, oppression, and the futility—and necessity—of hope. While his thematic concerns may reflect his identity as a Romanian-born artist, his work is also accessible and universal. As he has said, refusing to be pigeonholed by identification with one nation, “art is my country.”

Mircea Cantor was born in 1977 in Oradea and, at the moment, lives in Paris. After moving to France in 2000, four years later Cantor won the most important award granted to young French artists – the Paul Ricard Award, one of his works being purchased by the Museum of Modern Art in Paris. In 2011, the Romanian artist received the prestigious Marcel Duchamp Award and this year he will host his own exhibition at Pompidou Centre in Paris.

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David Claerbout. the time that remains / Parasol unit, London

David Claerbout. the time that remains exhibition Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art, London

David Claerbout. the time that remains / Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art, London
May 30 – August 10, 2012

Preview: 30 May 2012, 6.30 – 9 pm.

On 30 May 2012, Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art will preview a solo exhibition dedicated to the filmic works of the Belgian artist David Claerbout. The exhibition features works spanning Claerbout’s practice from 2000 to the present. The time that remains will be the artist’s first solo exhibition in a London public gallery.

Claerbout situates his striking work between the complex worlds of digital photography and film, investigating this intermediate area in concise and thought-provoking installations. Claerbout’s films often depict everyday activities or events, which once digitally manipulated negate the linear passage of time. His work questions the viewer’s conventional ideas of time and narrative processes.

Filmed in a house designed by contemporary architect Rem Koolhaas and using the same episode shot at ten-minute intervals from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Bordeaux Piece, 2004, lasts nearly fourteen hours. Three actors repeat flat dialogue and use dramatic gestures. They seem to be the protagonists of the work, but as time goes by the narrative slowly collapses into the movement of the sun and the changing light of day. A different sense of time is created and the protagonist is now the natural world. This work contains Claerbout’s first use of dialogue.

The Algiers’ Sections of a Happy Moment, 2008, is set on a small soccer pitch on a roof of the Algiers casbah. Young men, surrounded by a group of elderly people, pause in their game as one of the players feeds a flock of eager seagulls. The succession of images in this ‘happy moment’ provides a reflection on what Claerbout terms ‘the suspicious gaze’. The artist uses the passage of time as a tool for moderating that suspicious gaze, and more generally as a means of reconsidering what we see.

Set within the rigorous architecture of Skywood House, near Denham in the UK, Sunrise, 2009, takes the viewer into near-total darkness. The film depicts a nocturnal scene inside the villa, where a maid goes about her usual routine while the inhabitants sleep. The camera follows her through the course of her work and finally films her as she cycles home along a country road under the rising sun, accompanied by an imposing piece of music by Rachmaninov.

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Anat Shiftan: Stilled Life / Vessels Gallery, Boston, USA

Anat Shiftan: Stilled Life exhibition at Vessels Gallery, Boston

Anat Shiftan: Stilled Life / Vessels Gallery, Boston, USA
May 4 – May 27, 2012

Vessels Gallery is pleased to present Stilled Life, a solo exhibition of the new ceramic work of Anat Shiftan. Born in Israel, and with a degree from Hebrew University in English Literature and Philosophy, Shiftan received her MFA in Ceramics from the Cranbrook Academy of Art and Design. In 2003, the artist joined the faculty at the State University of New York at New Paltz, School of Fine and Performing Arts, where she finds teaching essential to her creative process. She has participated in group exhibitions both nationally and internationally and was featured in the 3rd, 4th and 5th Biennale for Israeli Ceramicsas well as in the 4th Annual Jingdezhen Contemporary International Ceramics Exhibition, in Jingdezhen, China.

Shiftan is philosophically absorbed by nature and itsre-creation in art. She writes, “Looking at nature is a springboard for my artistic expression…” She is drawn in by the beauty of nature, the fluctuation between its symmetry and imbalance, its order and disarray. More importantly, however, she has become fascinated by the “packaging” of this nature as an art object throughout history. Shiftan is captivated by the human engagement with nature,by man’s desire to artistically capture what has been seen, andfinally by the process of doing it. This conversion from outside to inside, is just as much part of the subject matter as the clay itself.The artist works primarily in porcelain, and her pieces are markedly delicate and alluring, sometimes with sharp edges and coarse surfaces which may invite the viewer to look but not to touch.

Stilled Life continues Shiftan’s exploration of this dual role: nature in its own setting and nature domesticated. In her own words: “I contemplate the role of nature in artistic history, and I wonder if it is at all accessible to us today as a reality.”

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European Travellers: Art from Cluj Today / Kunsthalle, Budapest

European Travellers: Art from Cluj Today / Kunsthalle (Műcsarnok), Budapest, Hungary

European Travellers: Art from Cluj Today / Kunsthalle (Műcsarnok), Budapest, Hungary
April 19 - July 01, 2012

Cluj’s contemporary art has for years been the subject of special international attention. The term Cluj School in reference to new figurative painting – which appeared in the mid 2000s and has been the topic of debate ever since – and the Paintbrush Factory – which houses studios and independent cultural institutions – quickly became widely known in Europe. Of the Cluj artists, many have exhibited in such prestigious international venues as the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, MoMA in New York, the Kunsthaus of Zurich, and the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein. Their works have been discussed in internationally significant publications and they have collaborated with distinguished galleries. The art institutions of Cluj have notable networks of international connections and continuously host prominent foreign experts.

Artists:
Marius Bercea, Zsolt Berszán, István Betuker, Mihuţ Boşcu, Răzvan Botiş, Mircea Cantor, Radu Comşa, Csaba Csiki, Duo van der Mixt, Oana Fărcaş, Adrian Ghenie, Simon Cantemir Hausi, Mihai Iepure Gorski, István László, Victor Man & Anna-Bella Papp, Szilárd Miklós, Dénes Miklósi, Alex Mirutziu, Nita Mocanu, Ciprian Mureşan, Cristian Opris, Cristi Pogacean, Victor Răcătău, Cristian Rusu, Şerban Savu, Leonardo Silaghi, Mircea Suciu, Péter Szabó, Sergiu Toma, Gabriela Vanga, Szabolcs Veres.

Curator: Judit Angel

The success story of Cluj is no overnight “miracle” however, as it is a continuously growing, multi-layered phenomenon. Its development and evolution have not only required exceptional artistic talent, inspiration and perhaps a bit of luck, but in the background, are also the result of mostly private initiatives, as well as an immense amount of work, an open attitude, persistence and conscious self-positioning on the part of independent art institutions.

The Műcsarnok exhibition aims to offer an authentic representation of the “Cluj phenomenon.” As a special point of interest, in addition to the artworks, the show also familiarizes viewers with the most important institutions of the local art scene, which are of many different types. These include centres that house contemporary art exhibitions and accommodate theatrical and dance productions, studios that experiment with digital media, publishing projects, as well as community and activist platforms. The University of Art and Design Cluj, with its strong emphasis on building international connections, also makes its appearance. The more than thirty artists and seventeen art groups and institutions that are featured in the exhibition have been selected with a focus on the – internationally also significant – developments in Cluj within the past decade.

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ACGA National Clay & Glass Exhibition: Call for entry

ACGA National Clay & Glass Exhibition: Call for entry

ACGA National Clay & Glass Exhibition: Call for entry
Entry Deadline: October 31, 2012

Dates: January 26 - March 1, 2013

The ACGA National Clay & Glass Exhibition will take place January 26 – March 1, 2013 near Los Angeles at the City of Brea Art Gallery. The exhibition will showcase a wide range of handmade ceramic and glass artwork from across the United States.

The juror is Carol Sauvion, Executive Director of Craft in America, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to presenting the history, practitioners and techniques of craft in the United States, and their impact on our nation’s cultural heritage. The centerpiece of the Craft in America effort is its production of a nationally broadcast documentary series celebrating American craft and the artists who bring it to life. The Peabody Award winning Craft in America series airs nationwide on PBS.

The competition is open to all forms of handmade clay and glass: functional, decorative and sculptural. The deadline for submission is October 31th. The entry fee is $30 for three pieces of artwork. Awards will be given. The online entry form is available at www.acga.net.

The Association of Clay and Glass Artists of California (ACGA) is a non-profit membership organization begun in 1945. It is dedicated to establishing and maintaining high standards of craftsmanship and design in clay and glass.

Eligibility
This competition is open to artists residing in the United States, 18 years or older. Artwork must be composed of at least 75% clay, glass, or a combination of the two, and may be functional or sculptural. All entries must be original and executed by the artist within the past two years. Works may not have been previously shown at the City of Brea Art Gallery.

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