Handle with Care is on view at the Princessehof National Museum of Ceramics, Leeuwarden
November 26, 2022 – October 20, 2023
This exhibition revolves around the hand and gestures – expressions of intimacy, compassion, serenity, authority, labor and celebration. The ceramics that will be displayed capture the universal role hands and fingers play in the lives of humans and animals. Curator Dr. Wendy Gers selected 37 works relating to this theme for Handle with Care. They range from archaeological finds to the latest contemporary acquisitions, loans from up-and-coming artists, and treasures from the Princessehof’s depot. Sometimes the known and unknown makers of this eclectic collection of objects from different times and regions have literally left their impressions in the clay.
Among the exhibited works in Handle with Care is Neha Kudchadkar’s Hand Job, a kind of ‘multi-tool’ for the hand. Kudchadkar created ten delicate instruments, one for each finger and each with its own function: to caress, feed, manipulate and cherish. This is the first time that Kudchadkar’s work will be exhibited in the Netherlands, and the Princessehof has acquired two of her works: Handjob and Thought Casts. Another recent acquisition, a sculpture by Sharon van Overmeiren (Belgium), will also be premiered in Handle with Care. Dog whisperer and television star Caesar Milan – and his dogs – inspired this work, in which Van Overmeiren explores the boundary between humans and animals. The figure makes a blessing gesture with one hand and seems to offer something with the other.
Handle with Care includes work by unknown artists from China, Peru, Suriname, Nigeria, Dagestan, Turkey, and the Netherlands. Also on show is work by Rob Birza, Johan Creten, Marie-Josée Comello, Daniël De Bruin, Bing & Grøndahl, Satoru Hoshino, Bastienne Kramer, Neha Kudchadkar, Hanna Mobach, Charlotte Eta Mumm, Pablo Ponce, Rosenthal & Co, Akio Takamori, Studio Tjep, Simone van Bakel, Hans van der Ham, Hans van Houwelingen, Couzijn van Leeuwen, Sharon van Overmeiren, Irene Vonck, Pauline Wiertz, and Betty Woodman. The lion’s share of the exhibited works is from Princessehof’s collection. Still, there are also pieces from the collections of the Fries Museum, the Fries Verzetsmuseum, and a loan from Museum Boijmans van Beuningen.
National Museum of Ceramics
In recent years, the Princessehof National Museum of Ceramics in Leeuwarden has become a world leader in contemporary ceramics. Highlights include the major exhibitions Human After All (2020/21) and In Motion (2017). The museum’s second floor is devoted to contemporary art and design, with four to five solo presentations per year, recent examples being work by Jennifer Tee, Babs Haenen, Meekyoung Shin, Morten Løbner Espersen and Yoon Seok-Hyeon. Works by Alexandra Engelfriet are currently on display (until 9 April 2023). The museum actively expands its collection as a source of inspiration for new generations of designers and artists. In the years ahead, curator Dr. Wendy Gers will focus on an exhibition programme and accompanying publications around sustainable ceramics.
Princessehof National Museum of Ceramics
Grote Kerkstraat 9
8900 CE Leeuwarden
Photos by Ruben van Vliet