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contemporary art

Residence of Growth, Allison Luce at the Zentrum für Keramik-Berlin / Review

REVIEW, April 2012:

Residence of Growth, Allison Luce at the Zentrum für Keramik-Berlin
by James Romaine

/ Read the full review in Ceramics Now - Issue Two

Since its inception in 2005, the Zentrum für Keramik-Berlin has been an oasis of cultural exchange for ceramic artists in one of Europe’s principal artistic centers. Founded by Thomas Hirschler and Kaja Witt, the residency program provides a creative sanctuary in the midst of an exhilarating city where artists from around the world can create artwork stimulated by their surroundings and experiences. Developed after the couple spent time at the Archie Bray foundation in Helena, Montana, the Zentrum für Keramik-Berlin welcomes artists to a city that is, at once, standing in history and bursting into the future.

Ceramicist Allison Luce, who lives and works in Charlotte, North Carolina (USA), participated in a residence at the Zentrum für Keramik-Berlin between May and July 2010. Inspired by a city with such a tumultuous past, Luce was amazed at the beauty and resiliency of life that was Berlin. This residence allowed her to experience the city in a different way than previous trips that were characterized by quick visits to the main tourist sights. By taking bike rides along the Mauer Weg, following the path of the Berlin Wall, she was able to weave between the former East and West Berlin in a way that was impossible for 30 years and experience where the wall divided the city. Since Luce was there during the spring, she saw the quiet garden of the residency transformed into a blossom of life. As the weather warmed, she also went to various monuments and landmarks around the city, such as the Soviet War memorial, which is tucked away in a quiet residential neighborhood. Luce was amazed to experience a city’s metamorphosis woven from a web of history into something thriving and beautiful.


Evaporate, 2010, 14.5” x 13” x 5.5”, Fired Clay with oxides, watercolor, mixed media. Photo by Allison Luce.

In Berlin, Luce developed a body of sculpture, collectively entitled “The Serpent Tree”. Referencing nature as well as the body, “The Serpent Tree” works, such as Mandrake and Echo, as vessels of birth, growth, death and, even, life through death. The theme of residence has been a central theme of Luce’s ceramics for many years. Her work materializes the twisted processes of organic growth. One of the advantages of clay ceramics, born of earth and fire, is its potential material affinity with the viewer. Luce’s work takes full advantage of this affinity. Working in clay, the material out of which all of humanity was created, her sculptures explore the ephemeral nature of our existence and the belief in the promise of life. Just as the body is the residence of the soul, Luce’s sculptures are residences of presence and meaning.

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  • Steve Belz: Assisted Nucleation, 2011, Low fire ceramic, washes, glaze, rubber cord and steel fastener, 20H x 30W x 10D inches

  • Steve Belz: Conflict of Purpose, 2010, Low fire ceramic, washes, rubber, stainless steel and acrylic paint, 11H x 40W x 17D inches

  • Steve Belz: Pulse, 2011, Ceramic, glaze, bronze and powder coating, 9H x 14W x 10D inches

  • Steve Belz: Emerging Tension, 2010, Low fire ceramic, slips, glazes, rubber cords and copper wires, 5H x 8W x 5D inches

  • Steve Belz: Twisted Synthesis, 2011, Low fire ceramic, washes, glazes, rubber cords and steel fasteners, 14H x 27W x 13D inches

  • Saint’s Sculptures between the XIX and the XX century / Casa Vestita, Grottaglie, Italy

    Saint's Sculptures between the XIX and the XX century exhibition at Casa Vestita, Grottaglie, Taranto, Italy

    Saint’s Sculptures between the XIX and the XX century / Casa Vestita, Grottaglie, Taranto, Italy
    March 29 – April 15, 2012

    Opening reception: Thursday, March 29th, 18.30 pm.

    For the first time ever, there will be exhibited over 95 votive terracotta figurines representing some of the saints venerated in Puglia, a tangible sign of the widespread devotion to Southern home.

    Fifteen photos by photographer Ciro Quaranta will open the exhibition, who in the last thirty years has been conducting a thorough research on the popular faith in Puglia, managing to put together a file that describes moments of faith and devotion that are cyclically repeated during the centuries.

    The exhibition “Sacralità domestica”, maintained by the archaeologist Simone Mirto and ceramist Mimmo Vestita will open in Via Crispi 63/A on the 29th of March, and runs until 15 April, enriching the range of cultural offerings in regional during the Easter season when many tourists reach the Salento to enjoy the balmy spring temperatures or to attend the renowned Holy Week Rites in Taranto.

    The votive statues accompanied by the photographs tell the intimate relationship between man and the sacred, an extraordinary exhibition which takes visitors through different eras of environments, all enclosed in the picturesque setting of Casa Vestita in the heart of the “City of ceramics”. Grottaglie is thus prepared to the first exhibition that puts a spotlight on an aspect of popular devotion, at a specific time such as Easter, in which the mystery of faith is particularly felt by the community.

    "A recious and rare exhibition" - Simone Mirto, curator of the exhibition. Sacralità domestica is the first exhibition in Italy that traces the lower production of votive terracotta figurines made in Grottaglie.

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  • Ruth Power: Cephalophilia (installation), 2011, 100cm wide x 100cm long x 40 cm high.

  • Ruth Power: Vulva 1 (Cephalophilia), 2010, 43cm wide x 37cm long x 14cm deep; 2011, porcelain, LED light, cord, plug, wooden box with black paint and flocked interior

  • Ruth Power: Breasts (Cephalophilia), 2011, 48cm wide x 42cm long x 14cm deep; porcelain, LED light, cord, plug, wooden box with black paint and flocked interior

  • Ruth Power: Breasts (Cephalophilia), 2011, 48cm wide x 42cm long x 14cm deep; porcelain, LED light, cord, plug, wooden box with black paint and flocked interior (Black and white image)

  • Ruth Power: Masks (Cephalophilia), 2011, porcelain, wooden box with black paint and flocked interior.

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