17/11/2013 - 23/03/2014

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)