Ceramics is one of the most ancient industries on the planet, nearly 27,000 years old to be exact. While most of us think of pottery or decorative objects, a new exhibition at Bonnefanten Museum in the Netherlands aims to illustrate ceramic’s staying power as a higher art form. Opening on October 16th, “Ceramix” will feature works by artists such as Matisse, Rodin, and Picasso, to more contemporary artists like Ai Weiwei, Jeff Koons, Luigi Alders, Jessica Harrison, and Katsuyo Aoki, who was featured in Hi-Fructose Vol. 21. Over the years, ceramic have provided these artists with a new kind of creative expression. Rodin, for instance, was never a ceramicist in the true sense, but he tried his hand at it in several manners. He famously abandoned capturing the likeness of his subjects, instead focusing on the nuances of their facial expressions, as seen in his “Monumental Head of Balzac.” Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, one of the most influential cultural figures of the 21st century, also found new ways to explore nuances in ceramics.
His giant rice bowl filled with freshwater pearls represents an object that is owned and used every day in China. Filled to the brim with beautiful pearls rather than rice grains, he links the bowl to an object of value and a means for survival. Japanese artist Katusyo Aoki also draws on the inspiration of Chinese porcelain in her sculptures of ornate skulls. To her, ceramic arts are like an object of worship. “Their existence in the present age makes us feel many things; adoration, some sort of romantic emotions, a sense of unfruitfullness and languor from their excessiveness and vulgarity, she says, “and on the other hand, they make us feel tranquility and awe that can almost be described as religious.” Her work features ornamentation and designs that would have been impossible to execute in any other medium. Whether abstract, chaotic, or romantic, from painting to mixed techniques, ceramics is an ancient material that continues to surprise us. The opening of “Ceramix” will take place on October 16th at Bonnefantenmuseum in Maastricht, Netherlands, after which it will travel on to Paris and Sèvres in spring 2016.
Bertozi & Casoni