Our infinite gratitude for Marek Cecula, who allowed us to make his thought-provoking catalog In Dust Real available in C-Library. If you are already a member of C-Library, view the catalog, or begin your 30-day free trial! We strive to have the field’s texts and exhibition catalogs of utmost import in our library, whether they are groundbreaking in the field of contemporary ceramic art or part of our collective history and growth. Submit your catalog or book today.
Marek Cecula: In Dust Real Project
Brown, Glen; Cecula, Marek; Clark, Garth; de Waal, Edmund
New York City: Garth Clark Gallery, 2005
In this body of work, Cecula brought together two worlds that clash endlessly, perhaps the oppositional magnets of the ceramic world: wood firing and industrially manufactured porcelain. Cecula subjected these European porcelain wares to the 24-34 hour anagama experience and the visual result (not to mention the conceptual drama) was inspiring. The In Dust Real catalog from Garth Clark Gallery is stashed with images of the work and essays by Edmund de Waal, Garth Clark, Glen Brown, and Cecula himself.
Porcelain, the purest of pure, the whitest of white, the coveted tea cup. What does it mean to expose this pureness to the violence of flame and ash, to treat the material as if it were, gasp!, stoneware! Yes, these are inanimate substances, however via Cecula they play the roles of humans and environments. Porcelain, as virgin, white feminine privilege is made to exist in conditions less comfortable, less opulent; the wood kiln as a log cabin in Appalachia or Montana.
This placing of clay in humanity holds political and emotional capital and is perhaps indicative of a crookedness that permeates society today. Subliminally we associate porcelain with the white body, and as a society are we disheartened to see it tainted, darkened, spoiled.
In his catalog essay, Garth Clark touches upon some of the currents that underlie Cecula’s project. He writes: “Encountering this firing technique on Cecula’s carefully composed still-life stacks of dishes, is wonderfully disorienting. The dishes in question are extremely elegant, stylishly decorative 19th century porcelain. It thrusts the volcano of the Japanese Anagama kiln into the quiet, ordered charm of a European tea party with a resulting chaos of clashing values and categorizations. On the simplest level the ash clashing on these vessels is at once beautiful and violent.”
If you are already a member of c-library view the catalog, or begin your 30-day free trial! We strive to have the field’s texts and exhibition catalogs of utmost import in our library, whether they are contemporary and groundbreaking or part of our collective history and growth. Submit your catalog or book today.