Ai Weiwei, Han Dynasty Urn with Coca-Cola Logo, 1994, urn from Western Han dynasty (206 BC - 24 AD) and paint. Photo: Studio Ai Weiwei, © Ai Weiwei. M+ Sigg Collection, Hong Kong. by donation.
Some of the earliest artworks were ceramics. The European Modern Era was shaped by the insatiable desire for Chinese porcelain, for which the highest prices were paid. Whether functional containers or artworks, ceramics travelled over the whole globe from time immemorial, connecting cultures that knew little of one another. Long regarded everywhere as high art, this medium had a poor reputation in Modernism. Individual artists such as Picasso, Fontana or Jorn knew how to extract new subtleties and meanings from the material. Yet ceramic art was for the most part demoted to second place as applied art.
With our sights more closely fixed on recent Asian art and with the continued opening up of artistic practice, we are increasingly confronted with this material. The exhibition is designed to throw light on these positions. Ai Weiwei and Edmund de Waal are available as curatorial and artistic partners in the dialogue on contemporary interaction with ceramics: two artists who are both outstanding ceramists and of course also prominently represented in the exhibition, alongside many other personalities and important historical material.
“Kneaded Knowledge: The Language of Ceramics” runs through February 19, 2017 at Kunsthaus Graz.
Ai Weiwei, "Remains", 2015 © Ai Weiwei, Photo: Jens Ziehe, Berlin, courtesy of the artist and Neugerriemschneider, Berlin.
Ai Weiwei, "Ruyi", 2012 © Ai Weiwei, Photo: Jens Ziehe, Berlin, courtesy of the artist and Neugerriemschneider, Berlin.
Ai Weiwei, "The Wave", 2014 © Ai Weiwei Studio
Alison Britton, "Traipse", 2014. Courtesy of Mardson Woo Gallery, London Photo by Philip Sayer.
China & Shaanxi (province), "Jar", early Northern Song dynasty, 10th or 11th century. In cooperation with MOK – Museum für Ostasiatische Kunst Cologne © Rheinisches Bildarchiv.
China & Shaanxi (province), "Amphora", Yangshao culture, 5000/4001 BC. In cooperation with MOK – Museum für Ostasiatische Kunst. Cologne © Rheinisches Bildarchiv
Edmund de Waal, "cargo", 1997. Courtesy of the artist, photo: Ian Skelton.
Edmund de Waal, "Objects & Apparitions, III", 2012. Courtesy of the artist, photo: Ian Skelton.