Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Patrick KIng's Inspiration Behind His Pottery

I met Patrick King at the launch of the Print and Clay Exhibition at the beginning of October and he promised to tell me what his inspiration was behind his ceramics.   I am sure the following will be of great interest:

"I have long been interested in the historical/archaeological importance of 'printed' ceramics, on which painted, inscribed or printed images provide lasting information about the past.  In contrast to our current archives on fibre and digital media, printed ceramic shards have an incomparably long life and may one day again be the only record or our existence.

If this should ever be the case, it is important that they reflect both the positive and negative aspects of human behavour. Pastoral scenes, smiling grandchildren, garden flowers, poems and other assorted kitsch abound on holiday souvenirs and even on the work of serious potters.  I deal with the darker details of war,  greed,  deprivation and hypocrisy.

Using a range of making techniques,  I have tried to combine the properties of the clay, aesthetics and political content into objects with every day forms but without a domestic function - other than a wake-up call!

Technical note:  text was applied to the work illustrated by a reverse lithography monoprinting technique that I developed based on photocopies.

Comments on the pieces we have in the exhibition at The Gallery at Bevere

At the End of the Rainbow

A collection (originally) 10 lidded boxes thrown in stoneware and decorated with scraps of newsprint applied by reverse litho over coloured slips. The tall-extruded handles are covered with gold leaf.
Based on the fairytale of gnomes burying pots of gold at the end of the rainbow, the work depicts the pots as they might be.---- The text in the several languages illustrates the endless discussion about ownership of the  "NAZI GOLD" deposited in the banks around the world, represented by the pompous golden handles that resemble the portal of a bank. In analogy to walking to the end of the rainbow, a combination of invested interests and racial tension has to this day made a just solution impossible.

Further comments on a past projects:- 


A tryptych of large (56cm diam) platters, with text printed by reverse lytho technique, broken raku fired, and reassembled.  Usually wall mounted.  The work reflects the 'domestic' violence of civil war, the destruction not only of physical environment but also a communication of the truth. A ray of hope is shown by the reconstruction of a scarred but partially functioning form.

Männer töten (Men kill)

A series of 5 large (56 cm diam.) platters with text printed by reverse litho, broken, raku fired, and reassembled. They are usually exhibited in a row mounted on a wall.

This work expresses in a completely unsubtle way the (my) opinion that men are responsible for all the violence in the world, at all levels of society from state-sponsered slaughter to kitchen conflicts. The message is amplified across the series to a cry (of despair) as the text and the destruction grows. The final platter is (almost) beyond repair. The title loses some impact when translated into English because in the German phrase men are at the same time the subject and the object of the verb to kill.

1. Graben (Dig)

I have also been known to engage it more “lighthearted” projects. For example, for an outdoor exhibition I once made four large bowls (1 metre diameter) printed with images of our present day relationship to water – for hygiene, fishing, sport etc. I broke them, prepared the pieces to look as though they had been buried for 500 years, re-assembled three of the bowls as museum pieces and buried the fourth bowl in the ground. The fourth bowl was then excavated piece by piece as a performance over one weekend. The story line was that the excavation was taking place 500 years from now when clean water (and fish) will certainly be in short supply.

2.  Roman bath

With reference to the Roman villa and well-preserved bath that was excavated from under the floor of our present studio, with a wonderful mosaic depicting the god Oceanus, I and my two studio colleagues each cast a large bowl in polyester on the theme of “ocean”. My piece was meant to represent the ripples in the sand of the seabed brought about by waves and currents.

 The Other Side of the Coin

A series of hemispherical bowls 40 cm diam., consisting of 6 pieces in the raku version and 2 in the stoneware version. The raku bowls are partly destroyed and reassembled. The stoneware bowls are intact.

The idea makes use of the two surfaces of a vessel, inside and outside, to illustrate the concept referred to as “the other side of the coin” (German “Kehrseite). Each bowl examines two ways of looking at a particular topic, which could also be called “the good news” (on the inside) and “the bad news” (on the outside). For example, on the stoneware bowl illustrated (“A world of difference”), the inside of the bowl is plastered with snippets from holiday catalogues describing the white sands, blue skies, cheap food and smiling natives that the tourist selectively sees. The outside surface of the bowl is printed with fragments of newsprint that describe the real-life social and political situation of many tourist destinations. Because the bad news is anyway filtered out by the public, the text on the outside of the bowl is printed as an unreadable mirror-image. Exhibition of the bowls on mirrors can be looked upon as a protest.

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