The Ceramic House and the Powell-Cotton Museum present No Interdependent Origins, a residency and exhibition
August 24 – October 31, 2021
Hong Kong artists Annie Wan and Lau Yat Wai in residency with UK artists Emily Peasgood and Dan Thompson, explore the legacy of the museum’s colonial-era collection through ceramics and sound.
The Powell-Cotton Museum in Quex Park, near Margate, has partnered with The Ceramic House to host a residency and installation No Interdependent Origins. This is part of an ambitious international ceramic and sound art project between British and Chinese artists called Interbeing, curated by Kay Aplin and Joseph Young.
The work produced is site-specific, designed for a particular space in the historic house, as well as responsive, opening up new ways of reading familiar objects and settings in the museum and the house. This is the first time that the museum has engaged with contemporary artists in this way.
No Interdependent Origins reflects the complexities of working across cultures and disciplines to explore the legacy of a colonial-era collection at the Powell-Cotton Museum. Powell-Cotton are in the process of decolonising the collection.
The artists have worked together remotely during the residency period to make collaborative installations in response to both the collection and its setting at the historic Quex House.
The UK sound artists have been gathering reference material, images, and videos to send to their ceramic artist counterparts in Hong Kong as a basis for their joint explorations. Originally scheduled to take place in person pre-pandemic, the artists have used video chat to communicate and to collaborate, whilst working remotely in their studios.
Ceramic artist Annie Wan who is working with Emily Peasgood, sound artist says: “By ways of arranging historical objects, the museum plays an important role in writing and interpreting history. The nature of time is linear but monumental in history. Coating a book with slip page by page has a similar nature especially because after firing, the text vanishes but the book form is retained. Quex House reminds me of the colonial time of Hong Kong. I grew up in this period which is very different from our present time. Collaboration long distance is difficult, but is a new, virtual experience in this physical world.”
Ceramic artist Lau Yat Wai who is working with sound artist Dan Thompson says: “I am interested in internal lives and recollections, manipulating the roles between public and private to reveal a personal will to hide, but also a desire to be found out.
I have selected to work with historical buildings and objects in Hong Kong which relate to the British administration: The Court of Final Appeal Building, the Cenotaph, the Mailbox and the Ferry. The characteristic and variation of the clay and glaze possess a metaphorical significance, representing my memory of these objects, and my critical view about the recent changes of Hong Kong.”
Inbal Livne, Head of Collections and Engagement, Powell-Cotton Museum said: “The Powell-Cotton Museum’s collection was made through global connections. Interbeing has enabled these historic collections to reconnect with their place and culture of origin and be reinvigorated through the fresh eyes and new approaches of artists working today. Linking the past and the present, the global and the local, Interbeing captures the essence of the Powell-Cotton Museum and its collection.”
Kay Aplin, Director of the Ceramic House and co-curator for Interbeing said: “Although we never pushed the idea that the artists explore what is currently happening with the political situation in Hong Kong in relation to a post-colonial museum collection in the UK, we were delighted that both Annie and Wai chose to go down this route. Their work is pertinent to the decolonising of the museum collection and reflects what they are living through at this time.
Joseph Young, co-curator for Interbeing said:
“Trying to facilitate remote collaboration during a pandemic has been difficult and bridging language, culture and distance through digital technologies was never going to be easy. In the end, the work of the collaborating artists has evolved in parallel rather than intertwined, responding to a shared starting point, the works finally meet to complement each other within the museum context. “
Interbeing is an exploration of international collaboration that considers the possibilities of making work connecting two very distinct cultures and artistic disciplines. The project engenders international cooperation and fellowship, opening up new ways of viewing and listening, as well as giving artists the chance to expand their practice through dialogue with their peers.
No Interdependent Origins will also be able to be experienced fully online on the Ceramic House website through the sound works, films and photographs of all the ceramic artworks in situ at the museum.
Launching at the same time as part of Interbeing is a virtual show in partnership with Chiddingstone Castle. Neither Increasing Nor Decreasing pairs art works by established Chinese ceramic artists selected by Shanghai Academy of Fine Art with objects from the castle’s Buddhist Collection. The artists selected by Shanghai Academy of Fine Art represent some of China’s leading ceramic artists as well as some newer, emerging artists all of whom are renowned for innovative, ground-breaking work. The exhibition opens online on 31 Augst on The Ceramic House website.
The project launched in June with an exhibition of contemporary Chinese ceramics at The Ceramic House in Brighton, UK and continues with a series of exhibitions, residencies, films and a book launch in 2021.
Quex Park, Birchington
Kent CT7 0BH
Photos by Bernard G Mills