Welcome to Spotted, our weekly top favorites list from the world of contemporary ceramic art and contemporary ceramics. In this edition of Spotted, we begin the week faced against a Kafkaesque brick wall.
Jorge Méndez Blake
We Spotted this installation by Mexican mixed media artist Jorge Méndez Blake. In Blake’s The Castle (2007), a single book, Franz Kafta’s 1926 novel of the same title disrupts an entire 75 x 13 foot brick wall yeilding a warped bulge, This is Colossal writes.
Although a larger metaphor could be applied to the installation no matter what piece of literature was chosen, Méndez Blake specifically selected The Castle to pay tribute to Kafka’s lifestyle and work. The novelist was a deeply introverted figure who wrote privately throughout his life, and was only published posthumously by his friend Max Brod. This minimal, yet poignant presence is reflected in the brick work—Kafka’s novel showcasing how a small idea can have a monumental presence.
The artist’s coupling of women with familiar products like martini glasses and bananas serves as a commentary on the ways in which capitalism has employed the female body. “I make sure that my pictures are not too erotic and that they always have a trace of humor,” he said of his work. “I make sure they are ‘in good taste.’ Either you understand it or not.”
Also Spotted at the LAMA auction is this Dinner Service by lifelong ceramist and ceramic educator Ralph Bacerra.
Smithsonian American Art Museum writes:
Bacerra borrows from Chinese, Japanese, and Persian pottery and fabric designs to create visually energized works in which both form and surface receive his full attention. He adorns the surface with multliayered glazes of rich colors, china paints, and lusters that exploit the curves and crevices of a vessel to its maximum decorative potential.
Spotted at this year’s ARCOmadrid (February 21 – 25, 2018) is Francesco Arena‘s conceptual crackly clay portal. Reminiscent of the passageways found in Chaco Canyon’s Pueblo Bonito, Arena’s doorway is like a dialectical dialogue between the past and present.
Francesco Arena’s abstract, conceptual works involve an ever-changing list of materials, but are united in their aim to re-present past events. Arena’s primary subjects are historic occurrences of trauma, violence, and struggle, and their manifestation as statistical facts and in narratives and collective memories.
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