Re-naturing the Vessel: the shared approach of
Julian Stair and Simone ten Hompel
22 May – 12 June 2016 Rosemarie Jäger Gallery
This joint exhibition by German metalworker Simone ten Hompel and English potter Julian Stair developed out of their shared interest in the vessel. The exhibition contained pieces by each artist and showed them collaborating for the first time on a number of works in metal and clay. Despite different cultural backgrounds and chosen mediums, both ten Hompel and Stair have a common history of exploring the multivalence of the vessel, its operation in social space and its capacity to disclose memory, sensation and symbol.
Stair and ten Hompel insist on a social locus for their work and for its realisation through physical use in contrast to the way contemporary art engages primarily through the visual and conceptual. They are conscious of how the complexity of material culture can be lost through static displays that do not encourage diverse forms of interaction. As artists they are committed to developing knowledge of objects through haptical appreciation and regard phenomenological engagement as fundamental to our understanding of the world. The Rosemarie Jäger Gallery with its idiom of domestic architecture provided an evocative setting for re-valuing these ‘everyday’ objects.
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Photo: Katrin Schilling
Embodied Vessels: A Material and Cultural Exchange
Julian and Simone held a seminar for German and British curators to accompany their exhibition Renaturing the Vessel. The seminar addressed shared themes within the artists’ work ranging from the multivalence of the vessel, anthropomorphism, to the importance of haptical appreciation. Drawing upon the rich material history of English ceramics and German semantic discussion around the importance of the hand and tacit knowledge, issues of ‘use’ for these two artists extend beyond ideas of functionalism and what the writer Arthur Koestler described as the ‘Cartesian Catastrophe’ of rationalism which split matter and mind. Using an intentionally limited vocabulary of cups, beakers and spoons, ten Hompel and Stair invite both reflection on, and engagement with, these vessels, in the belief that such forms can effect a powerful agency and in doing so, have the potential to become an embodied or active narrative within our lives.
Dr Stefan Kraus, Kolumba Museum
Dr Rudiger Joppien, University of Hamburg
Dr Olaf Thormann, Grassi Museum
Dr Sabine Runde, Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Frankfurt
Wolfgang Lösche, Galerie Handwerk, Munich
Amanda Game, independent curator
Clare Philips and Claire Wilcox, V&A
York St Mary’s
9 May – 7 July 2013
Within the atmospheric space of York St Mary's The Matter of Life and Death explored themes and perceptions surrounding death. Shown alongside groups of archaeological objects selected by the Julian from the rich collections of York Museums Trust, this contemporary interpretation of the rituals surrounding death demonstrated the enduring tradition and life affirming nature of funerary ware.
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Photo: Phil Sayer
THE SCOTTISH GALLERY
6 August – 4 September 2010
In this solo exhibition everyday domestic forms on ceramic grounds are at once delicate and vigorous. The focus on domestic simplicity in these elegant spare vessels conjures the rituals of our daily lives and their life-giving properties. The teapots, beakers, cups and caddies are to be viewed and contemplated for their own sake but are at the same time utterly functional and potent.
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