press release

Further Thoughts on Earthy Materials
11.09.2018 - 25.11.2018

Opening reception Kunsthaus Hamburg: September 10, 7–10pm
Opening reception GAK Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst Bremen: September 14, 7–11pm

GAK Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst Bremen
F. Cirillo, William Cobbing, Chris Curreri, Charlotte Dualé, Kasia Fudakowski & Real Madrid, Asana Fujikawa, Anna Herms, Nina Hoffman & Kathrin Sonntag, Judith Hopf, Kris Lemsalu, Alex Müller, Andrej Polukord, Alberta Saukaitytė, Irene Strese, Doris Weinberger, Jesse Wine

Kunsthaus Hamburg
Suse Bauer, Katinka Bock, Neil Brownsword, William Cobbing, Anna Lena Grau, Ilana Harris-Babou, Emma Hart, Judith Hopf, Emre Hüner, Lous Masduraud & Anoine Bellini, Johannes Nagel, Kate Newby, Nicolás Osorno, Pablo Schlumberger, Kerstin Stoll, Jennifer Tee, Ingo Vetter, Franziska Windolf, Jesse Wine, Xiaopeng Zhou

In times when contemporary art more strongly reflects the conditions and aesthetics of virtual realities, post-human theories abound, and the digitization of the world has created a fascination with 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 GAK Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst Bremen and Kunsthaus Hamburg asks what the underlying questions of the shift towards techniques and the material of ceramics in the artistic production of the 21st century are. Further Thoughts on Earthy Materials brings together works of a younger generation of artists that take an unconventional approach to ceramic material and thereby establish references to the present.

The GAK Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst Bremen chapter investigates a premise inherent to earthy materials: 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.

The GAK exhibition presents works that detail this perspective intrinsic to the material, both in the classic ceramic object and in installation, film, photography, slide projection, and performance. The topics explored also cover a broad spectrum, investigating aspects of the body through the medium of mud, clay, and soil: The reflection of the body, its states, alienations, limits, or perceptions are approached through a variety of perspectives. Questions about the ideal body under the era of deregulated capitalism, the border between external and internal perception, or gender categorizations are debated as well as the relationship between humans and animals or political conditions.

Curated by Janneke de Vries

The Kunsthaus Hamburg chapter addresses the inherent paradox of fired clay: both its being one of the oldest cultural techniques of serial (re)production (i.e. bricks, porcelain) and its haptic qualities that support immediate and time-consuming sculptural creation and craftsmanship.

The exhibition at Kunsthaus thus presents artistic approaches that employ ceramics―being a cultural technique which has been handed down from generation to generation―as a medium engaging with contemporary technologies and issues and questioning these in their current relevance: Which role does the recreation, depiction, and reproduction of three-dimensional forms with fired clay play today (in the era of 3D scans and printers)? Which material, cultural, or technical implications are connected with the medium? The selected works take up questions concerning the significance of seriality, authenticity, and originality as well as the archeological, anarchic, and dystopic character of the material.

Curated by Katja Schroeder