The exhibition “People from the porcelain factory” curated by the anthropologist, Ewa Klekot, and the ceramist, Arkadiusz Szwed, organised by Adam Mickiewicz Institute, acting under its flagship brand, culture.pl, in collaboration with the Polish Institute in Budapest, will be presented between 17th January and 28th of February in Platan Gallery in Budapest.
Opening: 16.01.2019, Wednesday, 6 p. m.
Opening speech by Kitti Mayer, design theorist
“The Human Trace” tableware set was produced on a factory production line by workers wearing gloves whose fingertips were dipped in cobalt salts. The traces of their touch remain almost invisible until firing, when they appear on the porcelain body, as the cobalt turns dark blue. In this way the porcelain tableware keeps the touch of the workers’ hands, revealing the role of the “human factor” in industrial manufacturing. The set is the result of a cooperation between an anthropologist and a ceramist researching various types of knowledge used in the factory and the value of factory work.
„Smooth, shining porcelain evokes cleanliness and perfection. When fingers or lips have left a trace on a cup, we feel an almost compulsory need to wipe it off, eliminate, recover the perfection, and conceal the evidence of contact with the imperfect human form. We do not want to know if and how many times a cup has been touched before” – says Ewa Klekot, the author of the project.
The set has been manufactured as a part of the project “People from the porcelain factory”, carried out in one of the oldest ceramic factories in Poland. The factory in Ćmielów, established in 1790, has been active in fine porcelain production since 1838 and is currently owned by Polskie Fabryki Porcelany Ćmielów i Chodzież S.A. The project was financed by the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education within the framework of the National Programme of Development in Humanities 2016-2018.
The exhibition was created on the initiative of, and in cooperation with the Adam Mickiewicz Institute. It was presented successfully at the Design March in Iceland (2016), Designblok in the Czech Republic (2017) and during the Triennial Ceramics UNICUM 2018 at the Slovenian Ethnographic Museum in Ljubljana.
The current edition has been organised in collaboration with the Polish Institute in Budapest.