Artifices instables: Stories of ceramics is on view at NMNM – Nouveau Musée National de Monaco
September 18, 2020 – January 31, 2021
The exhibition Artifices instables, Stories of ceramics will present a journey through inventions and experiments highlighting the diversity of shapes and decorations of ceramics, as well as its production processes. These different stages of production – the selection and preparation of clay, the shaping, the finishing, the decoration, the cooking and the enameling – reveal, also, the « recipes » and the almost alchemic preparations which vary from one creator/inventor to the other.
Cristiano Raimondi, guest curator at the NMNM for this exhibition, chose to investigate ceramics as a heterogenic and unstable material, able to tell transversal stories. Through a selection of more than 120 pieces by international artists, the curator envisioned a set-up which is a crossover between atelier and a cabinet of curiosities.
Participating artists: Aaron Angell, Eugène Baudin, Chiara Camoni, Johan Creten, Albert Diato, Simone Fattal, Ron Nagle, George Ohr, Pablo Picasso, Brian Rochefort, Magdalena Suarez Frimkess, and Poteries artistiques de Monaco (1871-1918).
The whole space has been planned with the help of Swiss designer Adrien Rovero who conceived the tables where some of the works will be exposed, and Cypriot designer Michael Anastassiades for the lighting, with his String Lights produced by Flos. The exhibition path involves both floors of Villa Sauber, and the works are displayed following the idea of affinity and visual references.
The «fabrique de Poteries artistiques de Monaco» (Monaco Artistic Potteries factory), begins its activity in 1874 inspired by the Arts & Crafts movement, enhancing the production of ceramic pieces enriched with very colourful floral and animal decorations, referring to the local plants like lemon and grape, often depicted in enameled braided straw baskets. In the same period, in the American state of Mississippi, George Ohr, « the mad ceramist of Biloxi », started the production of his « magic pieces », deconstructing « enamelled abstract vase » and experimenting for more than thirty years with numerous shapes as well as with production processes and assemblages. Ohr is considered today one of the pioneers of American Modern Art.
The second stage of the Poterie de Monaco (1907-1914) will be represented by French ceramist Eugène Baudin, who moved in the region in 1906, and his works which anticipate Surrealism. Also deeply connected with the heritage of the territory, the pieces by Monegasque multidisciplinary artist Albert Diato. He discovered the potential of this practice at the Madoura atelier in Vallauris and gave a substantial contribution to the aesthetic revolution of ceramics in the 1950s. The presentation of Spanish artist Pablo Picasso’s assemblages in ceramics opens new perspectives in the field of Western contemporary creations, proposing new stories of unstable artifices.
Italian Chiara Camoni and Syro-Libanese Simone Fattal give life to mythological and archetypical creatures, while Venezuelan Magdalena Suarez Frimkess, jostling with codes, renews the tradition of American pottery giving it a new function connected with social and political claims.
American Ron Nagle, pupil of Peter Voulkos, abandons the stereotypes of his time with pieces inspired by the landscapes and the architectural details of San Franciso, by the Japanese culture (the ikebana and the tea ceremony), and by the work of Giorgio Morandi.
The idea of experimentation is fully represented by young artist Brian Rochefort. The apparent magmatic disorder of his pieces hides a real technical prowess which allows enamel and clay to hybridize, breaking and meticulously recomposing eruptions of textures. British Aaron Angell proposes “assemblages” of maquettes, which the artist himself defines psychedelic while continuously exploring new ways of working with particular stonewares and glazes that he creates himself.
Finally, the subversive observer Johan Creten who rewrites with clay the art of metamorphosis. The totemic power of his works is highlighted by their titles, usually very evocative.
See end of article for detailed photo captions.
All these stories have in common the reconsideration of what Victor Segalen called « the sensation of the diverse », which ultimately involved not only the relationship with the Other, but also the questioning of the very idea of Artificiality. This plastic research, thoughtful or hazardous, and these unstable transmutations, always confer a symbolic value to the earth. Malleable medium, it will only reach an unalterable state after cooking. Become ceramic, it will always preserve, through its metamorphoses and the inventions which its creators subjected to it, the memory of its artificiality and its chromatic alterations.
« Ceramics is not futile », said Paul Gauguin, who, having started his own experimentation with this medium in 1887, prophesied that one day he would be recognized for having elevated this practice to the rank of an art. Thus, liberated from classifications, it pursued its emancipation during the following century. However, it never stopped questioning its own genesis, the relationship of the work of art to merchandise, and increasingly investigating the field of a metaphysics specific to the medium. These considerations produce between the works the subtle echoes that this exhibition tells.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue co-published by NMNM and Mousse Publishing including texts by Cecilia Canziani, Valérie Da Costa, Chus Martinez, Cristiano Raimondi and Agnès Roux.
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NMNM Nouveau Musée National de Monaco
17, avenue Princesse Grace
Principality of Monaco
Detailed photo captions:
- Aaron Angell, Pie #1, 2020, Reduced Puisaye stoneware with feldspathic inclusions, titanium slip, pine ash and oni-shino glazes. Collection Rob Tuffnell, London. Image courtesy, Rob Tufnell, London, photographie: Andy Keate
- Albert Diato, Coupe poisson, ca. 1957, Glazed stoneware, 16 x 29 x 53,7 cm. Collection Monica Zauli. Photo: Andrea Rossetti, 2020
- Albert Diato, Chouette et son oeuf, ca.1976, Stoneware, ceramic, 24,5 x 24 x 17,5 cm. Collection Pascal Marziano. Photo: Andrea Rossetti, 2020
- Brian Rochefort, Belize, 2019, Ceramic, glaze and glass fragments, 48,3 x 48,3 x 48,3 cm. Collection Silvia Fiorucci Roman, Monaco. Crédit photo : Marten Elder, courtesy de Massimo De Carlo, Milan/Londres/Hong Kong
- Brian Rochefort, Bromeliad, 2020, Ceramic, glaze and glass fragments, 58,4 x 55,9 x 55,9 cm. Crédit photo : Marten Elder, courtesy de Massimo De Carlo, Milan/Londres/Hong Kong
- Brian Rochefort, Amazonas, 2020, Ceramic, glaze and glass fragments, 55,9 x 55,9 x 50,8 cm. Crédit photo : Marten Elder, courtesy de Massimo De Carlo, Milan/Londres/Hong Kong
- Chiara Camoni, La cenere di Montelupo #01, 2017, White terracotta, ash glazes, dried flowers, 55 x 25 x 25 cm. Collection Silvia Fiorucci Roman, Monaco. Photo : Camilla Maria Santini
- Chiara Camoni, La cenere di Montelupo #10, 2017, White terracotta, ash glazes, dried flowers, 35 x 15 x 15 cm. Collection Silvia Fiorucci Roman, Monaco. Photo : Camilla Maria Santini
- Eugène Baudin, Sans titre, non daté (1906-1914), Porcelain, Hauteur: 11 cm, Collection privée, Paris. Photo : NMNM/Andrea Rossetti, 2020
- George Ohr, Sans titre, ca. 1880-1900, Glazed ceramic, 13.3 x 10.2 x 10.2 cm. Courtesy The Gallery of Everything
- George Ohr, Sans titre, ca. 1897-1900, Glazed ceramic, 32 x 15 x 17 cm. Collection Silvia Fiorucci Roman, Monaco. Crédit photo : Rago Arts Auction
- George Ohr, Sans titre, 1897-1900, Glazed ceramic, 10 x 8 cm. Collection Silvia Fiorucci Roman, Monaco. Crédit photo : Rago Arts Auction
- Johan Creten, Dark Corners, 2017, Glazed stoneware, yellow, red, bordeaux, noir, orchids, 110x55x55 cm. Johan Creten – Courtesy the Artist and Almine Rech, © Gerritt Schreurs & Creten Studio © Adagp, Paris, 2020
- Johan Creten, Les glands enflammés de Vallauris, 1993, 82 x 55 x 45 cm. Glazed red terracotta, Courtesy Galerie Transit Mechelen. Photo : Bert de Leenheer, © Adagp, Paris, 2020
- Johan Creten, Monument, 2014, Glazed stoneware, high temperature, multiple firings, 165 x 44 x 44 cm. Galerie Almine Rech. Courtesy de l’artiste © Gerritt Schreurs & Creten Studio © Adagp, Paris, 2020
- Magdalena Suarez Frimkess, Sans titre, 2018, Glazed ceramic, 8.50 x 11,43 x 8,89 cm. Collection privée, Milan. Photo : Gregory Carideo
- Simone Fattal, Balkis, 2012, Woodfired stoneware, 43 x 25 x 14 cm. Collection Silvia Fiorucci Roman, Monaco. Courtesy de l’artiste et kaufmann repetto Milan / New York
- Simone Fattal, Centaur, 2008, Glazed stoneware, 40 × 20 × 17 cm. Collection Silvia Fiorucci Roman, Monaco. Courtesy de l’artiste et kaufmann repetto Milan / New York
- Ron Nagle, Ms. Artismal, 2018, Ceramic, catalyzed polyurethane, epoxy resin, acrylic, 17 x 10 x 10 cm. Collection Alexander V. Petalas, Londres. Crédit photo : Don Tuttle, courtesy of the artist
- Ron Nagle, Cane and Disable, 2013, Mixed technique, 16,5 × 14,5 × 16,5 cm. Collection Silvia Fiorucci Roman, Monaco. Crédit photo : Don Tuttle, Courtesy of Matthew Marks Gallery and Ron Nagle
- Ron Nagle, Paunchy Pilot, 2018, Wood, catalyzed polyurethane, epoxy resin, 13 x 15 x 11cm. Collection Alexander V. Petalas, Londres. Crédit photo : Don Tuttle, courtesy of the artist