17/11/2013 - 23/03/2014
VESSEL / SCULPTURE 2.
German and international ceramics since 1946
In its special exhibition “VESSEL/ SCULPTURE 2”, the GRASSI Museum of Applied Arts will be displaying about 700 works of close to 300 artists from 30 different countries in five continents beginning from November 17, 2013 to March 23, 2014. The comprehensive show will be putting on display, how modern artistic pottery has developed in Germany and internationally from the middle of the last century to the present day. The entire high-ranking exhibits are drawn from own stock. Extensive donations from domestic and foreign collectors and artists immensely served to enrich the studio pottery collection of the museum within the past years. As the first major special exhibition since its structural reconstruction, the GRASSI Museum of Applied Arts presented “Vessel/ Sculpture. German and international ceramics since 1946” in the winter of 2008/2009. The title of the exhibition – and this also applies to the present follow-up presentation on equal basis –represents a code for the development of artistically-relevant studio pottery. The esthetic own value of vessels has been ever more strongly highlighted above all, since the 1960s. It has often overshadowed the functional designation or even eliminated it altogether. At the same time, the consciousness for plastic expression and the addition of nuances to the surfaces of vessel ceramics has continued to grow much like the consciousness for diverse opportunities in ceramic sculpture. Usefulness to the eyes and the senses is more significant for several pieces than a utilitarian approach. Studio pottery stands more at the center of it all than any other artistic genre in the equivalence of painting, sculpturing and in some cases, even architecture. Even the first successful exhibition in 2008/2009 was largely drawn from own stock also on the strength of benevolent donations. The catalog that accompanied the event was soon sold out in bookshops and is in the meantime, regarded as a standard work. Yet the exhibition and publication both showed how much need there still is for a complementation of the collection. This encouraged a good number of collectors and artists to handover more works to the museum. Altogether, from a qualitative and quantitative point of view, these benevolent donations that were made between 2008 and 2012 belong to the weightiest stock growth that the museum has ever witnessed since a long period. Many of the donated pieces were former flagships and highlights of meaningful exhibitions; they were honored with awards and are publicized in professional literature. The spectrum stretches from showcase items of smaller format to space-consuming large objects and betrays, in its amplitude, all imaginable variations from the point of view of intention and technique, form and surface.
The names of artists participating in the project are representative of the international elites of the art of pottery. For instance, the names Hubert Griemert, Jan Bontjes van Beek or Jean François stand for perfect glazing, Maria Teresa Kuczynska, Carmen Dionyse or Philippe Lambercy for ceramic sculpture, Karl Scheid, Kap-Sun Hwang or Geert Lap for maximum formal precision, Lucie Rie, Hans Coper or Alev Siesbye for the profoundly contemplative element, Gilbert Portanier or Beate Kuhn for the exuberantly fantastic element, Ken Eastman, Reinhold Rieckmann and Masamichi Yoshikawa for affinity to architecture, John Maltby and Eric James Mellon for the poetic element, Colin Pearson and Gordon Baldwin for fathoming the vessel as a subject, Michel Lanos, Claude Varlan or Jean François Thiérion for ceramic painting on vessels.
To be particularly highlighted amongst the donors are the great omnibus volumes of the collections of Hermann T. and Ilse Wolf (formerly Hinang/Allgäu), Petra Verberne (Venray/Netherlands), Herta and Hansjörg Koch (Lörrach), Monika and Dr. Günther Czichon (Engnr.) (Bremen), Annegret and Gerd Schütte (Bad Iburg), Josef Boeven (formerly Eschweiler), Hede Hopp (Everswinkel) and Lotte Reimers (Deidesheim) to name but just a few. They are joined by smaller but valuable donations in connection with significant archive materials on the subject as in the case of Lisa and Peter Hagenah (Otterndorf). There are further prospective donations waiting on the sideline e.g. from Gertraude and Klaus Bruch (Hamburg). Many of the said private collections are characterized by a special profile and concentration on a specific time segment. The generous property transfers in the possession of the museum have led to the manifestation of an impressive, power-bundling overall image derived from these collections that are filtered with critical expertise and passion. The volume and scope of the individual objects donated can admittedly, be presented only in a rudimentary manner.
The exhibition is divided into two big, chronologically determined parts. The time segment from 1946 to 1979 will be presented in the showcases of the pillared hall, while the period of 1980 to 2012 will be presented in the special exhibition wing. Finally, the museum will simultaneously present the award-winning pieces that participated in the competition for the Richard Bampi prize of 2013 in the adjoining orangery. By this means, the most recent stock of German new-breed pottery will pit itself against the outstanding picks of big names in the profession. A catalog (504 pages) with numerous illustrations, biographies and works characteristics will appear at Arnoldsche (Stuttgart) to accompany “Vessel/Sculpture 2” at a price of € 49.80. An audio guide tour and a film and event program will be offered for exhibition.
Richard Bampi prize 2013 (pdf)