The art here is not fitting into craft. It is not tamed with its decorative usability. Instead, many diverse worlds unravel, provoking, stimulating our imagination, building against canons, and sometimes falling apart when least expected. It is a deconstruction, provocation, political commentary, taboo, expressivity, feminism, objecthood, flirt with kitsch. It isn‘t an attack or destruction in any sort of aesthetics, but more of a gesture of undoing fundamental concepts in ceramic. Strategies Against Clay shows the potential of ceramic as a medium in which goes much more beyond the vessel.
At the age of 81, Karl Otto Götz delved into clay, after the expressiveness of his painting. In contrast to paint, the material was a full physical exertion and a malleable live matter. He recalls: „(....) I leaped into the thing, thrashed all around me and modeled the clay with my hands, with my whole body, with my legs.“ The focal point of the exhibition is his nine-piece relief from Ragar Series, monumental in white. The contrast is achieved between rigid, static squares and the furious gestures enthralled within. The informel gestures endow it with strong sculptural qualities.
Götz’s contemporary and a co-founder of Zero group is Otto Piene. Unordentlich Lyrisch shows the effort to release space from within, to enable the object to return from three-dimensionality into flat matter. Finally, the energy released on the surface of the object penetrates it and deconstructs it. These micro, controlled disasters lead to destruction and fragmentation of the object, whether by accidental slip, or well-calculated action captivated in the fragment.
Archeology of the everyday is a starting point of Daniel Spoerri’s Tableaus. In 1960, Spoerri made his first „snare picture“. Spoerri cooked. Critics served the meal. After the dinner, the tables were mounted as snare-pictures. Here, only the plane is changed: since the result is called a picture, what was horizontal becomes vertical. Here we encounter „snare pictures“ Spoerri produced in Meissen porcelain manufactory, giving them a novel, surreal vision.
Arlene Shechet sets an intriguing dialogue between the historical and the contemporary. As a result of her two-year residency at the Royal Meissen manufactory, she encountered with porcelain for the first time. She also inquired into the historical ways of exhibiting porcelain: stiffly, yet humorous. Shechet requests us to reexamine the practices of looking where ceramic works become delightful and subversive.
Rokni Haerizadeh and Ramin Haerizadeh use a combination of parody and grotesque to create a subversive commentary on a political and religious situation in Iranian society. Similar message is visible in Thukral & Tagra’s work. Playful, colorful, yet highly polemical iconography deals with overwhelming media culture and obsession with pop references.
South Korean artist SEO with „Five Caps 1/7“ explicitly demonstrates the process of Creolization, a mixture of new hybrid identity that occurs when different cultures merge. SEO intervened in her Asian art legacy, rendered through a very European tradition of porcelain-making.
Anselm Reyle examines the notion of taste in contemporary art with kitschy, bourgeoise items. „The Object“ consists of a pile of mounted cups, almost with a rubber-like quality, protected with a glass vitrine. Rather provocative, Reyle is creating a tension between the translation of forms as commodities from one culture to another.
Marcella Vanzo opens her intimate world of womanhood, motherhood, layered in magazines with uncanny figurines. Joanne Greenbaum treats clay like three-dimensional drawing. She makes the pieces, - res them, and applies color, playing with the circle – from painting to sculpture and back again.