Book Review – Korero: Ceramics in Conversation

KORERO: CERAMICS IN CONVERSATION. The catalogue for the International Ceramics Biennale, Taiwan. 2010. Pub by Yingge Ceramics Museum, Yingge, Taipei, Taiwan., 70x80cm, soft cover. 200 pages

This is the catalogue for the exhibition and produced in full lavish Asian style and scale. It contains two or more illustrations of each artist’s work plus statements and biographies. There are full page images of the exhibition rooms as well as individual works in image. The exhibition carried over 150 individual works, some containing hundreds of individual pieces. Curated by Moyra Elliott as the result of an international competition, which was the first for curators rather than artists, it ran for six months in Yingge, Taiwan in late 2010.  The catalogue includes statements by the judges for the competition. All texts are in English and Mandarin script.

The exhibition included 43 ceramic artists from 27 countries with three New Zealand ceramic artists as part of this. The NZ’ers are Jim Cooper, Raewyn Atkinson and Tony Bond and they held their own in a major international lineup that included Ron Nagle (USA), Gwyn Hanssen Pigott (Aus), Philip Eglin (UK), Torbjorn Kvasbo (Norway), Takeshi Yasuda (China) and Satoru Hoshino (Japan) plus many others from Scandinavia, Asia, Europe and USA. It covers large and small scale sculpture, installation, tableware, domestic objects and work for plinth, wall and floor.

The exhibition was arranged as a series of conversations in rooms under, The Chat Room (ceramics addressing its own histories), Silent Conversations (architectural works and vessels that evince this), Straight Talk (direct interaction with the medium and its responses),  Don’t mention Politics, Religion or Sex (those dinner party No-Nos),  Subversive Arguments (where what seems one thing may well be another) and Domestic Discussions (from the beauty of the garden to the uneasy arena of the domestic interior – the unheimlich to the scatological).

The opening events were attended by more than half of the artists represented and a symposium and three day festival in full Chinese style was savoured by all. Trips to places of interest around the greater Taipei area were arranged and entertainment was generous.

Two works from each artist are illustrated in addition to bios and statements about the works by the artists. Some of the artists have been here to NZ as prize-winners or even judges for the Fletcher while others would quite like to come and work!

It is now available from Parsons Book Shop in 26 Wellesley Street E., Auckland, who have managed to secure some copies from Taiwan. Tel (09) 3031557.

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