Telling Tales research journal

Telling Tales; catalogue for a hypothetical exhibition

Research pages:
Interpreting Ceramics
Garth Clark
Key Figures of the 20th/21st centuries
Edmund de Waal  
podcast Desert island Discs

For now, I am going to proceed on the assumption that it will be possible to put this project together within the timeframe. *Update: 01/11/12. It has been agreed that the scope is probably too wide and ambitious given the limited time available, but that the research might provide a rich source of material for an exhibition or research project further down the line. For now, I am gathering material and information together in the hope that a shape for this project will emerge.

Telling Tales: personal narrative in contemporary ceramics is an idea that has been percolating in my brain for several years; ever since I first saw the work of Georges Jeanclos at the Gardiner Museum, Toronto and was captivated by the delicacy of execution and the emotional power of his sculptures.

Sadly, none of his work resides in any UK collection, (although there is plenty in his native France), so I was double fortunate to stumble across him in Toronto. The Gardiner Museum is Canada’s only museum devoted to ceramics – and, if there were ever a chance of getting an internship, I would be there like a shot!

I think that, even if my research focuses on new/emerging artists in the field, they will need to be put in the context of 20th century figurative ceramics, including the Funk Ceramics Movement which came out of the West Coast of the USA in the ’60s and ’70s. In an ideal world, with an unlimited budget, I would bring together the work of Jeanclos with that of some of his contemporaries around the world, and connect them visually and ideologically with a group of artists who are working in the same way today.

Possible research methods:
Field/Visual/People-based –
Visit museums/galleries. Visit exhibitions. Selling shows/graduate shows – speak to the artists. Visit the CPA.

Suggested Primary/Secondary Literature –
Magazines; Crafts Magazine/ Ceramic Review/Craft and Design magazine/ show catalogues (eg MadeBritish Craft Trade Fair, Collect)
Books; The Human Form in Clay: Waller, Jane 2001 Crowood Press    Ltd
Ceramics and the Human Figure: Garcia, Edith 2012 A C and Black/ The American Ceramic Society
The Figure in Clay: ed. Tourtillot, Suzanne J. E. 2005 Sterling Publishing Co., inc.
Contemporary Ceramics: Cooper, Emmanuel 2009 Thames and Hudson
Why Your Five Year Old Could Not Have Done That: Hodge, Susie 2012 Thames and Hudson
Craft In Transition: Veiteberg, Joruun Bergen 2005 National Academy of the Arts
Thinking Through Craft: Adamson, Glenn 2007 Berg/Victoria and Albert Museum

Funk Ceramics article; Ceramics Today
Profile; Prof. Dr. Jorunn Veiteberg
Craft Research blog
Contemporary Ceramics Image Resource; Access Ceramics
Ceramic Art London; annual exhibition
A Secret History of Clay; Tate Liverpool 28 May – 30 August
Who would have thought… artists using clay – what a revolutionary idea!! 😉
The qualities that have caused clay to be overlooked as a medium by those writing the history of modern art are precisely those that make it attractive to artists. It is easy to work, fragile, inexpensive, unpredictable and physical, and therefore inherently subversive. A Secret History of Clay reveals the previously undisclosed love affair between artists and this most humble of materials and in doing so re-writes modern art history. Works by some of the greatest artists of the twentieth century, many never reproduced before, will be fully illustrated in colour, tracing the transition of ceramics from a craft pursuit to something altogether more radical. Simon Groom, curator of the exhibition, argues the case for a re-examination of the use of clay in modern art. The distinguished ceramicist and writer Edmund de Waal explores its history, examining little-known works works by groups such as the Fauves, Russian Suprematists, German Expressionists, Italian Futurists, and CoBrA, as well as by artists including Duchamp, Miro, Picasso and Noguchi. The book will also feature extracts from the manifestos and writings of both artists and critics on the use of clay. (book out of print)

Jonathan Jones does his thing again… Review of Secret History
Cardiff School of Art Alumni
Dr Jeffrey Jones (Cardiff School Art Design) publications


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