An innovative exhibition on ceramics and light presented by La Fondation d’entreprise Bernardaud, Limoges, (June 13 – November 29, 2014).
Watt’s Up? explores the relationship between ceramics and light by presenting some 30 works of art worldwide, all created in recent years. Oddly enough, this relationship seems to inspire artists more than designers, trained to create objects such as lamps. Perhaps that’s because a lamp is more than an object.
The light from a lamp changes our entire perception of space and movement, giving the world a whole new dimension and altering how we see things. Light also evokes symbolism, poetry and mystery. As the French author Jean Giono once put it, very clever mysteries hide in the light.
If light and ceramics go hand in hand, it’s mainly courtesy of porcelain’s unique properties of translucency, which can give light – produced by a candle or a tungsten filament – a soft, poetic aura and a feeling of wonder. Ceramics offers a broad palette of sensations to play with.
Faience is heavy, glossy and sensual in its interaction with light. Pottery absorbs lux units and asserts its own material plasticity to counter the intangible nature of light. Porcelain is lightweight and transparent, and the matte aspect of unglazed biscuit forms a striking contrast with the gloss of the glaze.
Watt’s Up? is an unprecedented investigation of the latest innovations and know-how, both sensorial and intellectual in scope. It took nearly two years of research to bring these 30 or so works together.
These works are by 15 artists exhibiting for the first time in France. They are the result of technical prowess – manual and technical – as well as fresh creative thinking. None of them represent any particular school of thought, creative trend or artistic movement. Each work is an explosion of creativity, born of the artist’s reflections and inspiring a sense of wonder. This exhibition sheds new light on the art of ceramics.
Cédric Morisset contributes articles on design to AD magazine and the daily newspaper Le Figaro. From 2010 to 2012, he served as head curator for the annual AD Interieurs exhibition. Cédric Morisset heads the design department at the PIASA auction house, Paris.
Above image: Margaret O’Rorke, Waves. Photograph by James Crabbe.
Any thoughts about this post? Share yours in the comment box below.