Exhibition view FURTHER THOUGHTS ON EARTHY MATERIALS, GAK Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst, Poto: Tobias Hübel
Artists: Kasia Fudakowski & Real Madrid, Cirillo, William Cobbing, Chris Curreri, Charlotte Dualé, Asana Fujikawa, Anna Herms, Nina Hoffmann & Kathrin Sonntag, Judith Hopf, Kris Lemsalu, Alex Müller, Andrej Polukord, Alberta Saukaitytė, Irene Strese, Doris Weinberger, Jesse Wine.
‘Most artists still produce to be experienced physically in space by somebody who is bodily present. This is something the World Wide Web won’t ever be able to replace. The increasing pressure of information on the experience of art has had artists running back for very material types of production, for very artisanal types of production.’
Dieter Roelstrate, Interview at the Kunsthalle Vienna, 26 June 2016
In times when contemporary art more strongly reflects the conditions and aesthetics of virtual realities, post-humane theories abound, and the digitization of the world has created a fascination with materiality, 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 at the GAK Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst Bremen and the Kunsthaus Hamburg asks what the underlying questions of the shift towards techniques and the material of ceramics in artistic production of the 21st century are. The exhibition Further Thoughts on Earthy Materialsbrings together works of a younger generation of artists that take an unconventional approach to ceramic material. Works that do not signify a revival of traditions or a backward artistic movement, but rather break new ground in dealing with traditional processes and topics. The chapters in Bremen and Hamburg each explore different aspects through two group shows. The exhibition at the GAK focuses on the presence of the physical body and the Kunsthaus examines contemporary technologies and production processes.
The GAK Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst Bremen chapter investigates a premise inherent to earthy materials, namely the body.
Traditional ceramic manufacturing processes involve the constructing and shaping of material by hand, thus revealing the body’s presence in the object, which is marked by the unavoidable traces of its maker and to which it largely owes its one-of-a-kind character. Given ceramics’ inherent connection to the body, it seems only logical that the body has become a thematic reference in various artistic explorations of fired clay.
The GAK exhibition presents works that detail this perspective intrinsic to the material, both in the classic ceramic object and in installation, film, photography, audio recording, slide projection and performance. The themes explored also cover a broad spectrum, investigating aspects of the body through the medium of mud, clay and earth. The works on show in the GAK chapter Further Thoughts On Earthy Materials qualify as both intuitive and rational, abstract and representational. The body in copy, its states, its alienation, its limits or how it is perceived are approached through a variety of perspectives. The exhibition addresses questions about the ideal body under this era of deregulated capitalism, the border between external and internal perception or gender attribution as well as the relationship between humans and animals or political conditions.