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Ceramic Art London 2014

April 4, 2014

ArtsCeramics | by Maxine Kirsty Sapsford


Peter Beard, Ceramic Art London, 2014
Peter Beard, Ceramic Art London, 2014

 

Tim Andrews with his ceramics, Installation view, Ceramic Art London, 2014
Tim Andrews with his ceramics, Installation view, Ceramic Art London, 2014

Today saw the opening of Ceramic Art London, the biggest fair for contemporary ceramic art held in London. Celebrating its 10th birthday the show takes place every year for one weekend only at the Royal College of Art. So if your looking for something enticing to occupy your weekend, then come meet some of the best ceramic artists from around the globe. Artists range from established ceramicists that have been creating for decades; such as Tim Andrews, famous for his Raku works and Peter Beard, known for his mesmerising patterned surface textures, to new pioneers of the medium like Ikuko Iwamoto and Barbara Hast, who are taking ceramics in exciting new directions.

 

 

Ceramics as an art form has never enjoyed highbrow status in the art world due to its craft roots, but this humble medium has come along way. Helped by artists like the Turner Prize winner; Grayson Perry, ceramics is finally being taken seriously as an art form although there is still debate over where functional pottery ends and art begins.

 

Barbara Hast, Stall 45, Installation view, Ceramic Art London, 2014
Barbara Hast, Stall 45, Installation view, Ceramic Art London, 2014

 

There are some benefits however, to ceramics ‘tarnished’ crafting background. I’ve been to few galleries that display ‘please touch’ signs, like the one on Chris Keenan’s stall. Here the art is meant to be touched, picked up, even used. There are also few art fairs where £100 will buy you a beautiful work of art for you to take home with you. You may also be pleasantly surprised to find that the seller at each stall is the artist themselves (or their friend who’s watching the stall while they grab a coffee). No art dealers or gallery staff here. You can meet the person who created your ceramic piece, ask about their inspirations and be regaled by stories from the studio. “I can always tell when she’s been using the gold leaf, I come into the studio and their pixie dust everywhere” Angela Mellor’s friend tells me as she hands me a postcard.

 

Angela Mellor, Stand 43, Instillation view, Ceramic Art London, 2014
Angela Mellor, Stand 43, Instillation view, Ceramic Art London, 2014

 

As if that wasn’t enough to enchant and entertain, there are also a number of free talks and events in a separate lecture theatre. Saturday includes a number of talks by established artists reflecting on their career’s to date; Gwen Heeney’s ceramic journey having spanned almost three decades, on at 2.30pm. Sunday includes a documentary at 11.30am filmed on location in China for Takeshi Yasuda’s 70th Birthday exhibition and Patia Davis demonstrating tin can slip trailing at 12.00 noon.

 

Ikuko Iwamoto, Stall 56, Installation view, Ceramic Art London, 2014
Ikuko Iwamoto, Stall 56, Installation view, Ceramic Art London, 2014

 

As well as the main fair, you can find the Royal College of Art’s display by it’s students studying ceramics and glass work, tucked away down a flight of stairs to the left as you go to leave. Beautifully finished pieces always await, many at even more reasonable prices then the works upstairs. This year there is also a comical edge to the student show with works like Jon William’s giant malicious hamsters and Susana Carne’s Cat’s ‘on Toast’ not failing to raise a smile. Carne’s having embedded the ceramic heads of the traditional Japanese lucky waving cat in ceramic slices of bread as a humorous interpretation of the cats in bread internet photo fad.

 

Susana Carne, Cat on Toast: Self Portrait, Ceramic, RCA Student show 2014
Susana Carne, Cat on Toast: Self Portrait, ceramic, RCA Student show 2014

 

Before you leave make sure you take a look at the Tony Ainsworth Memorial Lecture Fund stand to the right of the main doors where there is a big sell off for the fund. A number of the artists from the fair, as well as those that have come before, have donated their own interpretations of the pot.

 

The Tony Ainsworth Memorial Lecture Fund Stall, Ceramic Art London, 2014
The Tony Ainsworth Memorial Lecture Fund Stall, Ceramic Art London, 2014

 

Ceramics Art London is open from Friday 4th to Sunday 6th April at the Royal College of Art. For more information go to – www.ceramics.org.uk

Words by Maxine Kirsty Sapsford, Arts Editor

 

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