Welcome back to our NewsFile segment, our round-up of newsy tidbits and happenings from the world of contemporary ceramic art and contemporary ceramics. Is this edition, we delve into a well known, but rarely acknowledged truth, in the actualization of art as well as a bid farewell to a ceramist who helped bridge the gap between art and industry.
Communion of Ceramics, Architecture + the Sacred
The Order of St Augustine reports it has undergone a national RIBA award-winning refurbishment of its church in Hammersmith––the first phase in redeveloping its headquarters. Parish priest and artist, Fr Gianni Notarianni O.S.A. commissioned Roz Barr Architects alongside artist Julian Stair, who was charged with redesigning the altar, and typographer John Morgan, to imbue the building with a calm, ethereal quality fitting for a sacred space.
The church was open to the public during London Design Festival (September 15 – 23, 2018).
Global Day of Clay
October 10, 2018 marks #GlobalDayofClay, a worldwide celebration of ceramics in all its forms, connecting institutions, professional ceramists, artists, academics and ceramophiles with new ideas, innovations, and works that are shaping the modality.
Check out events happening online and across the globe here.
Farewell Janice Tchelenko
Admired ceramist, designer and artist, Janice Tchelenko, who bridged the gap between art and large-scale production, passed away this August at the age of 76, the Guardian reports. Trained as a studio potter in the late 1960s, she produced hand thrown tableware in the ‘Bernard Leach’ tradition, which was followed by her new bold shapes and rich glazes.
But her work was, in tune with her socialist politics, to reach a wider audience from 1983 in collaboration with Steven Course at the Dartington Training Workshop, renamed Dart Pottery in 1984. Her tableware ranges for Dart, Poppy, Black Rose and Leopard, were an instant success, winning both the Manchester Prize for Art in Production and the BBC Radio 4 Enterprise Award in 1988. Production at Dart, initially hand-thrown, became more mechanised as demand soared. Decoration was always hand-painted using techniques evolved by Tchalenko.
She went on to design furnishing textiles and ceramics for Tricia Guild at Designers Guild in 1985, a range of ceramics for Next Interiors in 1986 and tableware for Poole Pottery in 1994-95. Until 2006 she continued to work with Poole, creating designs for the John Lewis Partnership, and more recently she launched a collection for Royal Stafford.
Read the Guardian‘s full obituary here.
Ai Weiwei’s Studio Demolished
Early this August, Chinese authorities demolished dissident artist Ai Weiwei’s Beijing-based studio without warning damaging some of the artist’s work. The artist turned to Instagram to document the incident:
“Works were damaged due to the unannounced attack on the studio. There was no caution taken. However, compared to the memories which have been lost, compared to a society which has never established trust in the social order, a trust in the rule of law, or a trust in any kind of unity in defending the rights of its people, what has been lost at my studio is insignificant, and I don’t even care. There are profoundly deeper and wider ruins in this deteriorating society where the human condition has never been respected.”
The BBC, citing AFP news agency, added that the rental contract for the building had ended last year, but that it “simply wasn’t possible” to move out at the time because of the amount of works still present.
Read NPR‘s full report here.
Art’s Dirty Little Secret
The romanticized image of the solitary artist is dead. And perhaps, it’s not so much a dirty secret as an attention grabbing headline. The truth of the matter is, as the New York Times reports, as artists’ projects grow more and more grand, there are unsung heroes who help manifest the artist’s vision: fabricators.
Sculpture and assemblage have grown to immense proportions in recent years as the art business itself has ballooned. As new techniques, materials and computer-assisted design make otherworldly shapes and surfaces possible, it’s become increasingly hard to ignore the man behind the curtain: the off-site fabricators who actually make the thing itself, whether it’s a hulking metal totem by Ellsworth Kelly or a Minimalist cube by Robert Morris.
“They are the invisible hands who build sculptures and installations for which someone else gets the credit,” The Independent reports adding that artists not only seek fabricators for their time and labor in their areas of expertise such as metalwork, electrical, woodwork and more, but for their consultation and collaboration.
But regardless of how much of his input is required, the boundaries of that working relationship are clear: “The work belongs to them. The finished piece is still a result of their decisions, even those based on my suggestions.”
Stay tuned throughout the week as we continue to update our NewsFile with the latest happenings from the world of contemporary ceramic art and contemporary ceramics. Love or loathe this? You know what to do in the comments section.