In 2009 Ai WeiWei was beaten by police in his Chengdu hotel room. The much publicized violence was an attempt by police to stop WeiWei from testifying during the trial of artist and writer Tan Zuoren. Zuoren was being charged with “inciting subversion of state power” for his investigation of a collapsed school building that resulted in the death of 5,000 children. The police detained WeiWei long enough to keep him from testifying. He was later hospitalized in Munich for a brain hemorrhage caused by the beating. In Brain Inflation, WeiWei uses the MRI scan from his hospitalization as an image of corruption and violence by Chinese government and police. This image was also transferred to an edition of porcelain plates.
The deer in Laura De Angelis Even The Mighty Will Fall find an unusual place of enshrinement. Rather than proudly mounted on a wall as a reminder of a victorious hunt, they lamely sit on a pedestal, a place where history tells us to put a human bust, not a taxidermy stag. Stranger yet, the pedestals are made of playing cards. This bizarre genre of fiction is typical of De Angelis work, more of which can be seen here.
Nuria Torres’ The Guardian of the Heart appears to be part kitchen appliance, part futuristic organ harvester. I’m specifically reminded of the thing I use everyday to pour life back into my veins, a Bodum French Press. Torres strikes a more playful note in her Divine series, accessorizing and altering facial expressions on Pillowy ghost heads.
Matthew Causey, a ceramist based in Portland, Oregon, continues the American face jug tradition with his line of EmoJugs. Each of his four designs, Burlon, Yorick, Otto, and Bullock hold one pint of liquid.
In 1478 Lorenzo de’ Medici and his brother Giuliano were the targets of an assassination attempt aimed to overthrow the ruling family in Florence. Lorenzo survived but his brother was not so fortunate. To commemorate their bravery multiple busts of Lorenzo were commissioned and placed throughout the city. The majority of these commemorative busts were done in wax, however one was sculpted in earthenware and finished with paint. Conservators at The National Gallery of Art gathered x-ray images of the bust revealing the hand built process and original color palette.
Funded by a 2014 Kickstarter campaign, Wreckage International guided a camel train of giant teapots towards the Playa sands in conjunction with the annual Burning Man festival. Weary travelers could climb aboard and find rest in one of four teapots. Each pot served a distinct tea and provided stunning desert views.
During her time as a resident at the John Michael Kohler Art Center Hilary Wang researched historical forms of display for China blue and white porcelain. Although these vessels were historically presented on ornate wooden stands, they are now often left out when displayed in museums. Wang investigated this change in display on a personal level, slip casting her mother’s collection of wooden stands from Taipei, Taiwan.
What do you think of this smattering of contemporary ceramic art? Let us know in the comments.