Thursday, June 3, 2010

the v & a

when in london i visited the V&A museum
(3 times) and it took my breath away . . .
and it was, more than anything,
the fifth floor that did this : their ceramics collection.

the museum shows such reverence for ceramics
their collection is inspired and educational,
respectful and interactive.

there are collections that span
everything from the ancient history of ceramics
to architectural, to factory, to contemporary ceramics.

what pottery looks like if it is found in ship wrecks,
what pottery looks like when slumped
together when a kiln overheats

needless to say
if you ever get a chance,
and have even a small love of ceramics
this is a place to visit again, and again.

while there, in the contemporary section,
i was thrilled to see (above) a small collection of some of the birds from
clare twomey's installation TROPHY a few years back at the V&A.
i remember reading about the installation in
ceramic journals at the time

and being inspired and impressed
with her ideas about 'collections'

if you are interested you can
see a video HERE and see photos HERE

i have long been a fan of clare's work,
especially the conciousness/conscience installation
where, when walking on to the surface of
7000 hollow cast bone china tiles... they break
(images and info HERE)

as Mark Currah wrote in 2003 of that work:

It is possible to remain outside of the discreet space in which the floor-piece is laid, but immediately you walk into it and the ceramic breaks under your feet, your status is changed and you become a participant, activating the work, and the decisions you make start to affect the physical make-up and appearance of the piece. Twomey's role as maker has undergone a subtle shift. She is now more akin to the position of the composer who sets the parameters of a musical composition down as a score, but gives the business of interpretation over to the players.

The breaking of China is usually a moment for regret, and in the case of a much-used and well-loved domestic item one of great sadness. Twomey though, is excited by the ephemeral nature of her material and takes pleasure in its fragility, giving the breaking of it the same exhilarating possibilities encountered on walking over virgin snow.

i know i am saddened if a piece of my much loved,
and much used,
ceramic collection breaks.

but i do know it is all part of life,
and i treasure that i, and those who i love,
have enjoyed using it
, eating off it,
drinking from it . . .

and wouldn't not use it,
for fear of it being lost !

it is just nice to know,
that people think about ceramics on so many levels
and that makers still make it,
collectors still collect it,
when we eat we still use it,
and museums still celebrate it

i still have a few other bits from their collection to share
but that's enough ranting for one day... i'm off to have a cup of tea
in my favourite teacup (this weeks favourite anyway)

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