Here are highlights and lowlights from recent fairs. The first three works are from the Market Fair in Stockholm, which was, overall, underwhelming. Of the ceramics on show a few where grim even though the subject seemed playful: pimpled gnomes in a circle ready to dance, hike, or perform mayhem? I am sure this kind of mawkish imagery resides happily somewhere in Swedish folklore where it makes sense but I doubt it travels well. This is the problem I often have with ceramic art coming from this nation.
Rose Eken did not help the situation. Her Tray with Selected Objects looks like a dead rip-off of Robert Arneson’s Funk style (his Dirty Plates from 1967 comes to mind) without the bite (yes, the pun is intended). It’s either an imitation or she was unaware of this major period in ceramics. I am not sure which is the greater felony, copying or ignorance. In my book it’s the latter.
Luckily, when you move to Brussels the selection is certainly varied and on the whole, sophisticated. Bear in mind we post both ceramics and ceramic-themed art, the latter mostly 2D. Joana Vasconcelos continues to weave crochet with ceramics. Grandma’s china is everywhere but most impressively with the spatially, conceptually and emotionally exciting work by Pavla Scerankova. It is choreography about domestic disintegration.
Takuro Kuwata pleases as always, so does Gregorio Peno, but Edmund de Waal’s pots in the cabinet fall a little short, in fact very short.
The fair lacked the usual overload of glittering 1% baubles but it more than compensated with intimate, modest, challenging work that breathed authenticity, a rare and welcome experience at a fair these days. It made one want to collect rather than invest.
Garth Clark is the Chief Editor of CFile.
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