Anita Besson, retired last year and closed her doors. As doyenne of London’s very exclusive Galerie Besson upstairs in an arcade – somewhere off Old Bond Street, she carried a stellar list of artists including Gwyn Hanssen Pigott, Claudi Casanovas, Elizabeth Fritsch and Ewen Henderson, Shimaoka and others of the Japanese traditional establishment. It was a conservative gallery where you could be forgiven for thinking you’d maybe have to beg to be allowed to buy a piece!
I may be wrong, but I have received notice of a new gallery ‘for ceramics and modern art’, that seems to have opened in its old space. It’s a while since I was last there but the image, of the very elegant space overlooking the interior of the Royal Arcade, with arched latticework window and graceful curved staircase, looks like what I recall (only more white, less beige). Called Erskine, Hall and Coe they have a (slow) eponymous website. If you hanker after shows full of gritty stoneware, shino and tenmoku teabowls, simple porcelain bowls, all of modest scale, and some great names from mid-century on – go see. There is Coper, Duckworth, Rie, Pearson et al (must be re-sales!), many Japanese craftsmen in other media and even George E. Ohr, but also some personal favourites like Baldwin, Sara Flynn, Rafa Perez and the fabulous Masamichi Yoshikawa. Worth a look, or a visit if you are lucky enough to be visiting Mayfair.
Another notice just in, is entry information/application procedures for next year’s MINO Ceramics Competition. Despite recurrent negative publicity here and there they get over two and a half thousand entries each time. Of these the selection panel selects about 200 for display over the two categories of Design and Art. It must be that Grand prize-money of 3million yen ($38,000 NZ) and runner up (Gold Award) gets about $13,000 NZ. Entries are required to have never been exhibited or even published in a magazine or on a website, before. There is a three stage judging process and it is acquisitional – that is they get the prizewinners in the Grand and Gold Award entries in each category and pay no extra. So, if you get first or second prizes you will receive the prizemoney for your work no matter what value you placed for its sale. Application forms can be obtained from – http://www.icfmino.com
Note: they no longer pay to get your work there. The competition has changed in that the applicant must now pay both ways (following the first and second selections by image). They used to cover the costs of getting the work to Japan, but no longer. This cost is reasonable but the cost of getting work out of Japan to here is very high because of, among other things, export taxes. They cover insurance from satisfactory unpacking to repacking to a maximum of 300,000 yen (or 3800 NZD) ‘excepting for natural disasters’. You can elect not to have your work returned but it is given to ‘a public institution’ and not to any particular nominated individual. Or it is ‘discarded’. If, on receiving the work, for the third stage, it is decided that your work ‘differs significantly’ from the on-screen judging at stages one and two, it will be returned COD at entrant’s expense. The catalogue is usually of grand proportions and good photography.
The judging panels are six for Design and seven for Art. Each panel carries a majority of Japanese judges these days (the reverse used to happen back in the 80s and early 90s) with two each from outside Japan – A Korean designer and an Italian design gallery owner in Design; in Art is a German wood-artist and a UK curator of Japanese Collections at the British Museum.
Anyone seriously considering an entry would be wise to get another angle on the event by reading a 2011 Ceramics Art and Perception article by Ivan Albrecht – Asst. Professor of Art and Art History in Florida at the University of Miami. Go to Issue 86 pages 44-45. For an earlier article go to Issue 50:pp21-23 (2002), or Issue 33:pp88-90 (1998), or Issue 25: pp21-23 (1995). Good Luck!
Finally, closer to home, at least initially: Call for Applications: Talente 2014
Talente, is a high profile show for young designers and applied artists from all over the world, held in Munich Germany at the International Trade Fair in March.
Creative New Zealand supports the New Zealand artists selected to attend the exhibition and for the opening of Talente. This is an opportunity for international exposure in both directions. Corinna Hoseason, Unitec grad, in ceramics went last time. Maybe check out her blog.
As in previous years the age limit for makers is 33. The show attracts visitors, buyers and manufacturers from all over Europe. Talente is publicly funded, shipment and exhibition is free of charge and a high quality catalogue is produced to coincide with the exhibition. Deadline is 1st October. Applications are online at: www.hwk-expo.de/. Any queries contact: Renee Bevan (New Zealand mentor to selected artists) firstname.lastname@example.org