A presentation of our allocated museums, on their core collections and collectors, ethos, organisation, curation, architecture, history and context. I was allocated the Hunterian Museum in London, within the Royal College of Surgeons’ Headquarters.
I was glad I got to research deeply and digest data on a scientific based collection. My fascination was quickly directed to the strong ethos of careful observation and objective scientific method, that led John Hunter to collect around 15,000 specimens.
This approach, and the exhibits themselves, helped him to make a number of breakthroughs in medical surgery, which the curation of the museum reflects.
During my presentation, straight after the presentation on another science based collection of Wellcome Foundation, a deep conversation on ethics emerged.
The collection itself, as well as how some of the artefacts were acquired, raised questions on what is appropriate in art, medicine and science.
The exhibiting of the objects, human parts, in a public museum setting requires special attention, that’s why the ban of photography in Hunterian Museum.
Appropriation of Penguin Books’ design and its symbolical use within art.
The distinctive, horizontal blocks of colour and text within as a cover design of Penguin’s paperbacks, proved so iconic that its appropriation on a simple utilitarian ceramic mug became highly popular merchandise.
In Grayson’s Perry “The Annunciation of the Virgin Deal” (2012), a monumental piece of tapestry from his series, he is using these mugs as a social class symbol, and the movement through classes.
“On the table is a still life demonstrating the cultural bounty of his affluent lifestyle”. Together with the French press, car keys with Damien Hirst like skull keychain, local organic jam, fresh vegetables on the Guardian newspapers or the raw wood table they are all placed on, they are the symbols, the style-creators of aspirational middle classes.
They represent an aspiration for wealth of knowledge as well as monetary wealth, success and domestic nostalgia.
Douglas Coupland is another artist, and novelist appropriating the Penguin Books in his collages, and text based visual art, blurring the boundaries of art and literature.
This collage of “Jet Boy Jet Girl”, a song name stuck as vinyl stencils onto Penguin Book titles such as “Two Adolescents” by Alberto Moravia.
The punk song by Elton Motello about 15 years old boy’s lust and sexual relationship with an older man adds another complexity to the bluring of bounderies.
The ‘correct’ place for people within their social class or sexuality is challenged, and the nature and freedom of movement between them explored.
If I want it or not, appropriating the Penguin Books or the Penguin Donkey in my work will have significant impact on the context it carries.
Freddie transforms the craft of knitting and textiles into conceptual art where her peculiar life-sized bodies challenge the notion of normality and conformity. “She uses knitting to explore pertinent contemporary issues of the domestic, gender and the human condition, more recently exploring and expressing intimate feelings of sadness, fear and loss.”
Freddie captures my interest not only in her peculiar and fun wool sculptures, but her eccentric and playful personality.
I wish I could express this side of my character in my work more too.
Freddie’s work is full of bright colour with vivid narrative and context.
The Perfect – Alex, 2007
Collection of Knitted Folk Objects – Old Nanny Witch , 2014
It’s highly figurative as her concerns cycle around the human condition, domesticity and gender; an issues I’m mostly interested to explore.
Her project ‘Knitted Homes of Crime’ depicts a number of wool houses where a female killer would have lived or committed their crimes.
It plays beautifully on the ideas of domesticity: with the domestic aspect of textiles and activity of knitting, the container – house and femininity associated with housewives; but destroys it with the narrative and context where safety,certainty of containment is exchange with danger, uncertainty and rejection.
This juxtaposition and contradiction is the way I tried to lead my work and context, and still add as much process learning and exploration of clay and ceramics as possible.
I also used textiles as my starting medium, but then translated it into ceramic and played with the functionality of a tea-set, a very domestic object, and used it to narrate and express feelings of containment, or rather its absence.
American Abstract Impressionist sculptor, who would emigrate with her family from Nazi torn Germany as a very young girl. When spending a year back in Germany, she had to use her ingenuity and creativity to create expressive sculptures from found material in disused German factor, where later materials such as latex, fibreglass and plastic become her characteristic elements throughout her work.
Untitled (7 poles), view in studio, fiberglass over polyethylene over aluminum wire
Untitled (Rope Piece), 1970
Her creativity and playfulness in usage of these unconventional materials fascinates me, and that’s where I would like to strive. It’s very minimal approach of exhibiting, which subtly suggest ideas behind human condition – in its sexuality and naturality distanced from conventional nature, repetition, connectivity, or failing to find satisfying amount of meaning.
I want to strive for more playful usage of other materials with ceramics, as I managed in Tea for Two, and stay within the subject of human condition and philosophy, as that is what art means for me.
Katharine is UK ceramic artist predominantly working in unglazed porcelain, creating a three dimensional drawing of everyday inanimate objects.
I admire the strip to complete simpleness in Katharine’s work, but still expressing a lively and whimsical illustrative nature, with aspects of positive nature and character of the artist.
Especially with her newer work, archive drawers, collections of found specimens from nature expressing almost childlike fascination with the world.
This work informs my exploration in line through supportive structures of cooling towers and industrial architecture in my Subject, as well as the seams of my Tea for Two textile tea-set.
The ambiguity is especially strong in this collection of peculiar objects, being life size replicas of real objects but stripped down to number of lines and a shape, making us feel uncertain of their full 3D or 2D capabilities; same as my uncertainty in stability and containment.
Alison is one of the leading ceramic artists of her generation, and part of a radical group of RCA graduates in the early 1970s.
She took function and ornamentation as her subject to explore, focusing on the containing qualities – “both its formal possibilities and its capacity to hold and communicate thoughts and ideas. “
In her newer work (2012) she gives emphasis on the colour and the fluidity of slip application.
I’m interested to extend my knowledge of slips, as great colourant of surfaces, but now as a 2D form shaper through it’s fluid application.
As Alison I’m also interested in the exploration of ‘containment’ through the language of ceramic vessels.
However I want to focus more on the absent feeling of these qualities, related to human experience and our aspiration for permanent security and stability, or rather the normality of the constant search.