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current issue



Nicolas Lees  - UK
Hasan Sahbaz - Turkey
Nona Otarashwili - Georgia - Germany
Ray Meeker - India
Beatrijs van Rheeden - Netherlands
Ragnvald Leonhardt - Germany

Problem Solving - The Inquisitive Mind - Tom Supensky Art Philosophy
New Departures - Gustav Weiß Art Philosophy

"Welcome to Japan - Stefan Jakob San" -  Sasama Japan
Porcelain Painting - not only in Latvia -  Riga Latvia
International Ceramics Festival - Aberystwyth UK
Leiko Ikemura - Cologne Germany
Happy Birthday Shigaraki - Shigaraki Japan
25th Anniversary of the Keramikmuseum Weiden - Weiden Germany
The Wanqi Arts Center in Dehua  -  Dehua China
California Faience Ceramics - Pasadena USA
Arctic Clay Symposium - Posio Finland
Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada - Oxford UK
Xth International Ceramics Symposium - Römhild Germany
"Tradition and Future 2014" - Dubí  Czech Republic
"Texts of Love" -  Prague  Czech Republic

Alberto Bustos - Evelyne Schoenmann  Interview - Developing Skills

DATES / Exhibitions / Galleries / Museums
Exhibition diary International





Nicholas Lees

(Sarah Sutherland)
Nicholas Lees is part of an emerging group of sculptors whose practice subverts the ubiquity of clay. Clay has become an important representational tool within British sculpture, with artists such as Grayson Perry, Clare Twomey, Rebecca Warren and Edmund de Waal dominating private and public art spaces, including the Victoria and Albert Museum and Chatsworth House. The zeitgeist of clay as central to emerging sculptural practices is also reflected in both national and international ceramic events such as the British Ceramics Biennial and International Competition of Contemporary Ceramic Art in Faenza, Italy. Over 600 artists entered this year’s Biennale in Faenza and Lees was awarded its prestigious Cersaie Prize in June.
Lees uses clay as a representational tool to contemplate the margins of place, working at the limits of material and current ideas about spatial contexts. Insulation is a body of work which includes both drawing and sculpture. The work demonstrates Lees’ preoccupation with exploring how concepts of place and home are generated, transmitted and represented in contemporary visual culture.

Hasan Sahbaz

(Marc Leuthold)
Hasan Sahbaz is one of the many academic ceramic artists creating art in Anatolia. He has spent his entire career under the remarkably vibrant and supportive Turkish academic umbrella. He studied exclusively at one of Turkey’s finest ceramic programmes, Anadolu University. Directly after his studies, he was lucky enough to land a teaching job in 2001 at Afyon Kocatepe University. He continues to teach at that school and has intermittently chaired the ceramic programme there.
Undoubtedly, Hasan owes his rapid success to his extraordinarily original and process-intensive artwork. He works mostly with casting slip and his pieces typically consist of a general form with many cellular negative space voids. To create these pieces, Hasan must make an elaborate form or coddle that will hold the slip - thereby creating the sculpture. Using coddles of various shapes he then places dozens of small plaster bars within the coddle. The bars stand up like skyscrapers in a big city. When he pours the slip in the coddle, of course the slip must flow around the vertical bars. Imagine a flood engulfing the streets of New York City. Then as the slip sets up and congeals, Hasan must gently remove the bars (or "buildings"), otherwise the slip would crack as it shrinks around the rigid plaster bars. It is an unbelievably tedious process that requires great patience and a lot of close and careful observation. Hasan spends hours minding these pieces as the slip sets up.

Nona Otarashvili

(Ina Zimmermann)
When I went up the broad oak staircase in the main building of the FABRIK (="Factory") in Freiburg and had entered the open ceramics studio for the first time I was immediately enchanted by the wide range of creativity. The Georgian ceramic design graduate, Nona Otarashvili greeted me over a cup of tea. My gaze wandered over the shelves and work table in the well-lit room, discovering an endless spectrum of possibilities: big and small, round and angular, thrown, coiled or handbuilt. Her experimental surface treatments are just as interesting and full of contrasts as the forms of the objects themselves: some printed in black-and-white, some painted in bright colours and decorated, others plain with delicate decor.
Nona Otarashvili took over the ceramics studio in 2001. Today, she runs an open workshop here together with Annette Schwarte. As a part of the Fabrik für Handwerk, Kultur und Ökologie ("Factory for Craft, Culture and Ecology"), she sees herself as a kind of public institution where visitors of all age groups, beginners as well as advanced practitioners and experts or people with special needs all get the opportunity to work with clay. In the 90 sq. mtr. studio space, everything you might need to work with clay is available: ten wheels and a gas kiln, as well as plenty of material and tools. Over the years, a unique course programme for the region has become established under Nona and Annette. In addition, leading ceramists are regularly invited to add a wide range of workshops to the programme. So besides courses in throwing and coiling, there are also courses focusing on decorative techniques and surface treatment, sculptural vessels, slip painting, printing techniques, raku and woodfiring.

Beatrijs Van Rheeden

(Gudrun Schmidt-Esters)
For decades, the work of Dutch artist Beatrijs van Rheeden has been defined by a study of recurrent patterns and repeated structures. She first encountered her true medium during a symposium at the ceramics studio in Kecskemet, Hungary, in 1997. Before this, she had made mainly enclosed sculptures in stoneware after studying at the Art Academy in Groningen (1984 - 1989) and the Academy of Applied Art in Budapest (1991 - 1992). she finally made the move to porcelain in 1999. At the same time as her change of material, the focus of her contentual interest, the formal vocabulary and the use of colour changed radically.
But in the more than fifteen years in which she has expressed herself in porcelain, her art has continued to develop. Only recently, the artist has taken a decisive step forward with regard to her construction principles. She is still guided by questions of order, regularity and structure, but technically, formally and chromatically, van Rheeden has found a new path in her latest group of work.
If we think of her delicate mural pieces from 2007, the change is obvious. The artist has exchanged segments of round forms in fin-like structures for compact honeycomb skeletons. If the open edges of her older forms suggested infinity, these contrast today with an organic sense of unity. In addition, fragility and translucence have made way for thick walls reminiscent of the vessels of Kap-Sun Hwang. In particular, the layered colour of her honeycomb vessels  in porcelain underscores this association. Like him, Beatrijs van Rheeden combines precision with subtle individuality in her work.

The Collection of Hannelore Seiffert

(Monika Gass)
It really was not easy to make a selection from such a rich collection: a visit to the "stores" – the house and the headquarters of the collection belonging to Hannelore Seiffert gave an all too enticing opportunity to wish for anything and everything… But for the OPENING of the exhibition keramoVIEL at the Keramikmuseum Westerwald, a selection had to be made that was certainly personally coloured and could in no way do justice to the overall idea of the Seiffert Collection: from this private collection, illustrious works by leading artists from all over the world were jointly selected to form a harmonious group. Fifty-six artists from 22 countries with 77 works ranging from sculpture to mixed media are now on show until end of this year. This lavish, top class and multifaceted presentation gives the viewer the opportunity to see what is interesting for collectors of ceramic art: Hannelore Seiffert is showing what she herself calls "a small selection of her treasures" at the Keramikmuseum Westerwald: objects from a very personally conceived collection in which experience and expertise chime with an eye for a QUALITY PIECE!

Exhibition - Leiko Ikemura

(Antje Soléau)
At the Museum of East Asian Art in Cologne, there is currently an exhibition with  work by the Japanese-Swiss artist Leiko Ikemura. The exhibition has the poetic but not very informative title "All about Girls and Tigers". To understand this title spontaneously, it is necessary to have made an intensive study of Far Eastern, or more precisely Japanese and Chinese, intellectual history, religion and philosophy. In the show, there are about 200 pieces by Ikemura from the late 1970s up to today juxtaposed with thirteen outstanding works of Chinese and Japanese art from the holdings of the Museum. Each of these thirteen pieces introduces a chapter from the artist’s work. The exhibition thus provides evidence that although Ikemura clearly avows herself to Western art and never wanted to be pigeon-holed as Japanese, cultural memory has still retained the upper hand.
Besides paintings, drawings and photographs, a number of the artist’s sculptures are also on display. Most of them are made of clay, glazed, unglazed or partially glazed, and some are in bronze. The bronzes have mainly been based on terracotta sculptures, which is particularly evident with the work Usagi Kannon. This piece shows a hybrid Buddhist creature, half girl, half rabbit. The rabbit is one of the twelve Chinese signs of the zodiac and is said to represent good fortune and peace. Ikemura made the terracotta version of this piece in the aftermath of the Fukushima earthquake and tsunami disaster.

Arctic Clay Symposium: "Sculptural Form"

(Maria Geszler-Garzuly)
My friend Bernd Pfannkuche - who is the publisher of this magazine - exclaimed in surprise when he read my letter saying that I would travel in late spring 2015 to the North, in the Arctic above, Lappland, Finland, to the snow-covered forests, next to the frozen lakes where almost “eternal winter reigns" (except the short summer-time) to be a resident artist at the Arctic Ceramic Centre, Posio.
"This is just wonderful! Where do ceramic artists not create art? Even under such circumstances? In the distance in the north? Where Northern Lights rule the night?" - he said. "We are interested in this, where? Who? How do they live? And how do you create?"
Here is the "fairytale" story:
In 1969 a young family did something very unusual, Anu and Topi Pentik moved to Posio, a small town in Finnish Lapland, a place most people at that time were leaving to move to Sweden and the south of Finland.
The idea for a company first emerged in 1971, inspired by Anu Pentik's enthusiasm for ceramics and leather craft. (The Finnish government also recognized the opportunity and to set up a ceramics factory they sent a known artist and designer, Peter Winquist to Posio. He had to train all the workers and help organizing and plan the production process.)

In Studio with Alberto Bustos

(Evelyne Schoenmann)
Alberto’s delicate, experimental objects are bounded by robust forms. Within this frame, however, movement, dance, swaying and growth burst forth. It is as if each new piece were a further homage to nature. We are looking forward to learning how Alberto conveys this sense of dynamism from clay.

ES: Alberto, I would like to begin with your career. How did it come about that you decided on a creative line of work?
AB: My family told me that I was always a restless, creative child. Even today, creativity comes naturally to me. It is a part of me. Originally, I consciously started to paint on any surface and in any format. But I soon wanted to explore all three dimensions.

Top Copyright Verlag Neue Keramik 2007