Bharti Kher / Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art, London

Bharti Kher exhibition Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art, London

Bharti Kher / Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art, London
September 14 – November 11, 2012

Preview: 13 September 2012, 6.30 – 9 pm.

Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art is delighted to present works by Bharti Kher in her first solo exhibition held in a public art institution in London. The exhibition is composed of a selection of works from the recent past, with an emphasis on the artist’s sculptural works.

Known for her extensive use of everyday, found objects and imaginatively transforming their identity, Kher empowers her often otherworldly creations to present themselves unabashedly as if they were a natural part of our culture and environment. Kher’s work often explores the notion of the self as a multiple, open to interpretation and shape-shifting. Her art practice is intimately intertwined with her life, not only because she borrows motifs and artifacts for her work, but also because she has an inquisitive mind and a strong desire to understand sociological issues. Such characteristics endow Kher’s work with a narrative quality and fascinating interiority of things that frequently contradict her practice of addressing more global and collective concerns. This tension is precisely what leads us more deeply into Kher’s work and world and prompts us to reposition our own relationship to her individual pieces.

Kher is perhaps best known for her elaborate and stunning bindi dot paintings: abstract, swirling constellations of colourful bindis glued to flat surfaces that create unique imagery somewhere between being illusory and hyper-realistic. But in recent years her artistic creations have become increasingly bold and unrestrained, several examples of which are on show in the exhibition. The phenomenal, life-size elephant that is The skin speaks a language not its own, 2006, made of fibreglass and covered with serpent - or sperm-shaped white bindis, bears a symbolism that leaves viewers uncertain about the animal’s condition. The title of the work, always an important component of Kher’s works, suggests that physical appearance and inner values are often in conflict.

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Rosemarie Trockel: A Cosmos / NEW MUSEUM, New York

Rosemarie Trockel: A Cosmos exhibition NEW MUSEUM, New York

Rosemarie Trockel: A Cosmos / NEW MUSEUM, New York
October 24, 2012 - January 13, 2013

Co-curated by Rosemarie Trockel and Lynne Cooke for the Museo Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, “Rosemarie Trockel: A Cosmos”—encompassing all three main gallery floors of the New Museum building on the Bowery—will present a world shaped by Trockel’s ideas, interests, and affinities. Instead of a traditional retrospective, this exhibition takes the form of an artistic self-portrait in which Trockel’s work shares space with objects that have influenced her thinking and her practice. Spanning different eras and cultures, “A Cosmos” brings together objects from disparate fields to compose a cartography of Trockel’s influences.

Since the early 1970s, Rosemarie Trockel has produced an impressive body of work that includes drawing, collage, installation, “knit paintings,” ceramics, videos, furniture, clothing, and books. She brings together a range of associations and references from art history, philosophy, theology, and the natural sciences. For “A Cosmos,” the dense field of Trockel’s influences will be articulated in installations that illuminate the intellectual and formal connections between her practice and that of a range of historical figures including self-taught artists James Castle and Morton Bartlett, and the botanist/mathematician José Celestino Mutis. Objects whose impetus was primarily aesthetic will be juxtaposed with pieces that more conventionally belong to the realm of science. Trockel’s roughhewn glazed ceramics from the past several years will be displayed in conjunction with Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka’s delicate glass models of sea creatures created in the nineteenth century. A selection of new drawings by Trockel can be examined along with watercolors by the seventeenth-century artist Maria Sybilla Merian, whose impeccably precise yet beautiful renderings of flora and fauna proved invaluable to scientific study.

Trockel’s well-known disregard for the conventional hierarchies in the visual arts, together with her longstanding appreciation of media and materials once categorized as crafts or vernacular art forms, is demonstrated throughout the exhibition. She has adopted a fluid and radical approach to gender, combining activities typically considered feminine in terms of production with aggressive mechanical and industrial forms. This facet of her practice is emphasized through the inclusion of Judith Scott’s obsessively wrapped yarn sculptures alongside Ruth Francken’s plastic and metal assemblages from the 1970s. In addition, Trockel’s celebrated “knit paintings” will be integrated into the exhibition, along with new works made of glass.

Rosemarie Trockel was born in 1952 in Schwerte, Germany. She studied at the Kölner Werkschulen in Cologne, Germany. Since 1998, she has been a professor at the Staatliche Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. She lives and works in Cologne.

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Scandinavian Design / Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Scandinavian Design / Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Scandinavian Design / Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
August 26, 2012 – January 27, 2013

Scandinavian Design, drawn from the MFAH collection of decorative arts, showcases furniture, glass, ceramics, metalwork, and lighting from the 1920s to the 1970s. The MFAH first acquired examples of modern Finnish glass in 1954, and in recent years the museum has built on this history by acquiring outstanding objects by architects, designers and manufacturers such as Georg Jensen, Orrefors, Alvar Aalto, Bruno Mathsson, Kaj Franck, Timo Sarpaneva, Tapio Wirkkala, Poul Henningsen, Finn Juhl and Verner Panton.

The objects created by designers active in Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway during the 20th century embody a distinctive aesthetic typified by an emphasis on high-quality design distributed widely through mass production. Often Minimalist, and characterized by clean lines, the Scandinavian design movement originated with a 1950s design show that traveled to the United States and Canada to showcase Nordic designers and the “Scandinavian way of living.” Scandinavian design influenced the development of Modernism in North America and Europe, and it continues to shape decorative arts today.

This exhibition is organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Generous funding is provided by Dr. Marjorie G. Horning.

Entrance to this exhibition is included with the museum admission. MFAH Members receive free general admission.

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Gustaf Nordenskiöld exhibition / Galerie NeC, Hong Kong

Gustaf Nordenskiöld exhibition Galerie NeC Hong Kong

Gustaf Nordenskiöld exhibition / Galerie NeC, Hong Kong
August 24 - September 29, 2012

Opening: Thursday, August 23, from 6 pm.

Gustaf Nordenskiölds ceramic work deals with issues about functionality, primitivism, natural forces, and perceptible method. He is exploring the field between design, crafts, arts and industrial production.

The exhibition consists of new museum collections, post production, the assembly of pre-existing and newly manufactured items, and works transformed to form new en-sembles. The exhibition presents ambivalent ceramic works, virgin archaeological objects of unknown origin that expresses beauty in the making, or in disrepair.

"My intention is to create works in which the methods are a prerequisite for the final result, where traces of the process remains in the finished work.
To freeze a moment for posterity. To preserve and display an action. What is worth preserving? Methods where the finished objects conveys trace of effort, different movement patterns or natural deformation/formation.”
Traces, as a memory of its creation, Gustaf Nordenskiöld, 2012.

In partnership with the Consulate General of Sweden, Hong Kong.

Gallery Hours: Monday to Saturday, 11 am - 8 pm. Sunday, 1 - 6 pm.

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CHANGE Exhibition / Ceramic Centre Furnace Pagliero, Castellamonte, Italy

CHANGE Contemporary Ceramic Art exhibition at the Ceramic Centre Furnace Pagliero, Castellamonte, Italy

CHANGE Exhibition / Ceramic Centre Furnace Pagliero, Castellamonte, Italy
28 July - 7 October, 2012

Change, an innovative title that wants to send a strong message about the communicative potential of ceramics in contemporary art world. The objective is clear: it is Castellamonte, the city of stoves, together with the furnace Pagliero, the oldest factory in the suburb wisely restored by owner Daniel Chechi, now a center avant-garde cultural production and to send a new message on the potential and the language of contemporary ceramics. A spirit of continuity with the past, but also breaking, where twelve artists invited to exhibit created specific works of great communicative power, which are fully included in the Olympus of contemporary art.

Artists: Silvia Calcagno, Terry Davies, Mariano Fuga, Gian Genta, Rita Miranda, Simone Negri, Brenno Fish, Jasmine Pignatelli, Franco Rampi, Paola Staccioli
Curator: Silvia Campese

The artists, selected as the most important names in art pottery, have identified a specific site within the architectural splendor of the furnace, creating the appropriate specific interventions designed for the site.

A separate section is devoted to the potter Savona Sandro Lorenzini, the author appreciated not only in Europe, which has made almost all the works shown in the Furnace Pagliero, invited by Daniele Chechi as an “artist in residence”.

The show joins “The metaphysical dream” by Giorgio de Chirico and Lisa Sotilis and “Figures of fire” by Bernard Aubertin, Elio Torrieri, Lilian Rita Callegari, and Umberto Mastroianni. A complex work, supported by the critical point of view by the Director of the International Museum of Applied Arts Today MIAAO, Enzo Biffi Gentili.

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Summer Exhibition 2012 / Erskine Hall & Coe Gallery, London

Summer exhibition 2012 at Erskine Hall & Coe Gallery, London

Summer Exhibition 2012 / Erskine Hall & Coe Gallery, London, UK
25 July - 30 August, 2012

Artists: Sebastian Blackie, Claudi Casanovas, Peter Collingwood, Tanya Gomez, Matthew Harris, Deirdre Hawthorne, Steven Heinemann, Shozo Michikawa, Gustavo Pérez, Tim Rowan, Anna Vannotti

Erskine, Hall & Coe specialise in 20th Century and Contemporary ceramics. The gallery is in central Mayfair, off Bond Street, at 15 Royal Arcade.

The gallery carries an extensive stock of ceramics, often including works by, Lucie Rie and Hans Coper, Jennifer Lee, Gwyn Hanssen Pigott, Shozo Michikawa and Sara Flynn. Its ten annual exhibitions feature the work of British and international artists, in some cases exploring the interplay between ceramics, sculptures and paintings.

Gallery Hours: Monday - Friday: 10 am - 6 pm, Saturday: 10 am - 6 pm (during exhibitions only).

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Wouter Dam exhibition / Galerie NeC, Hong Kong

Wouter Dam exhibition at Galerie NeC Hong Kong

Wouter Dam exhibition / Galerie NeC, Hong Kong
28 June - 18 August, 2012

"The ceramic sculptures I make, do steadily develop along a clear line, this last group of sculptures here on show are slightly larger and with more unbroken circles incorporated into the sculpture, in this way slowly revealing more of its origins, the vase and bowl shape.

The sculptures are closed and curled on to itself and in this way, keeping more of it’s secret, enticing you to explore the almost hidden inside of the sculpture.
They are covered with a coloured engobe, the latest colours I have introduced are the soft pink, a light porcelain blue, and a grey tone. All these colours are specifically chosen to enhance the shape and to give a good contrast in between light and shade.

The sculptures are built up of elements made on the potterswheel, assembled when leatherhard, every one of them becoming a unique sculpture, although clearly belonging to the same family of shapes.

The sculptures are like drawing lines in space, making the clay seem weightless. The edges are refined and cut through the air in contrast to the soft voluminous exterior surfaces that bask in the light.” Wouter Dam, 2012

Gallery Hours: Monday to Saturday, 11 am - 8 pm. Sunday 1 pm - 6 pm.

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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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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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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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