In times when contemporary art more strongly reflects the conditions and aesthetics of virtual realities, post-human theories abound, and the digitization of the world has created a fascination with surfaces and found images, a parallel art production is emerging, one that deliberately uses haptic materials and artisan production processes.
The two-part exhibition project Further Thoughts on Earthy Materials (11 September – 25 November 2018) at Kunsthaus Hamburg and GAK Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst Bremen asks what the underlying questions of the shift towards techniques and the material of ceramics in the artistic production of the 21st century are. Further Thoughts on Earthy Materials brings together works of a younger generation of artists that take an unconventional approach to ceramic material and establish references to the present. Thereby, the two group exhibitions in Bremen and Hamburg are dedicated to different aspects. The chapter at GAK Bremen focusses on the presence of the body.
The Kunsthaus Hamburg chapter addresses the inherent paradox of fired clay: both its being one of the oldest cultural techniques of serial (re)production (i.e. bricks, porcelain) and its haptic qualities that highlight immediate and time-consuming sculptural creation and craftsmanship.
The exhibition at the Kunsthaus thus presents artistic approaches that employ ceramics, being a cultural technique which has been handed down from generation to generation, as a medium of engaging with contemporary technologies and issues, and question these in their current relevance: which role does the recreation, depiction, and reproduction of three-dimensional forms though fired clay play today (in the era of 3D scans and printers)? Which material, cultural, moral, or technical implications are connected with the medium? The selected works take up questions concerning the significance of seriality, authenticity, and originality as well as the archeological, anarchic, and dystopic character of the material.
Curated by Janneke de Vries and Katja Schroeder