My aim for the 3 month Young Participants Residency at the .EKWC, is to investigate the historic and contemporary use of colour techniques in European ceramics, allowing educated and explorative application of colour to further inform and develop my current body of work.
My current body of work is a series of monochromatic (white) decorative trophy urns, built of thrown forms with modelled and moulded relief details, all presenting prized agricultural animals. They explore my fascination with the romanticisation of pastoral landscape, its inhabitants and how this informs unrealistic aesthetic expectations of a benign idealised agrarian society. While quoting formal and socio-cultural traditions of 18th century European porcelain, leaving the work purely white has operated as a powerful detachment from history, a fresh start for a new era. However, I now feel that the decorative nature of the work demands a shift. An exploration into an element that cannot be ignored when pursuing the path of the ornamental - colour.
Through reflection of this work, prompted by a short visit to Europe, I have become aware that New Zealand is a small geographically isolated country. Therefore the traditions of 18th century porcelain production and its socio-cultural implications have been experienced at a distance. This has allowed a simulation of constructed conceptions to be born with many elements being morphed in translation. Given the opportunity to physically work from the Netherlands, I want to survey what has been lost and/or gained from this translation, ultimately celebrating what these new understandings could be.
So... I over the past three months I have been travelling around Europe visiting factories, museums and galleries, encountering all the objects I have spent hours pouring over in books. Along the way I have been contemplating the differences between this real life experience and the initial perception the two dimensional image had given me and considering what my new work should be.
|The Meissen Factory and Museum|
|The Wedgewood Factory and Museum|
After visiting all these amazing places and seeing so much more than I could have hoped for, the immediate aspect I want to react to is the substantial amount of porcelain encountered. This largely came in the form of significant collections comprised of various objects in multiple forms which were intended for numerous functions, often leaving me feeling overwhelmed.
The second feature that grabbed my attention was the apparent history attached to these objects. This was not just the history of porcelain or their factories, which I have considered in the past, but also the histories of the time they were created in, the royalty who founded these intuitions and the people the works were created for. Histories are something I am feeling particularly fascinated with especially after traveling Europe and realising what little history New Zealand has.
In terms of decoration and colour, this changed in technique and form from the place and time it was made. Apart from being overly decorative and generally bright there was no significant style that could be tied together in order to create a group, yet there was no major difference to set it all apart. This is something I will need to think about more.
I am not yet sure how everything I have experienced will manifest in my work but I look forward to working through it and seeing what is made.