Marking the line: Ceramics and Architecture
In 2013 with help from the Arts Council England and other sponsors the Foundation’s first touring exhibition; Marking the line; Ceramics and Architecture was launched. This project was conceived as a life-specific exhibition in response to Sir John Soane, one of Britain’s greatest architects.
The Joanna Bird Foundation commissioned four artists, Nicholas Rena, Carina Ciscato, Clare Twomey and Christie Brown to create ceramic installations responding to the life and work of Sir John Soane. Curated by Joanna Bird and Dr Jerzy Kierkuć-Bieliński, Exhibitions Curator at Sir John Soane’s Museum, the exhibition sought to challenge where and how we view ancient and modern works of art. By introducing contemporary ceramic art into an historic architectural setting we were able to explore the relationship between ceramics and architecture, views on which were expounded in a later symposium.
The exhibition opened at Sir John Soane’s Museum on March 8, 2013 and then travelled on to two further houses designed or partially designed by Soane: Port Eliot in Cornwall and Pitzhanger Manor in Ealing.
Very different dialogues between the work and it’s historic setting emerged as the exhibition translated from one venue to the next. In Port Eliot for example, themes of dynasty in Christie Brown’s work resonated not only with the life of Soane but also with that of the St.Germans family at Port Eliot, so much so that Christie produced two further pieces, busts of the 1st Lord & Lady St Germans, to enhance the exhibition.
Allied to it was a symposium at Somerset House, featuring Eric Parry, Alun Graves, Suzanne Lovell, Jerzy Kierkuć-Bieliński, Andrew Burton, Jeremy Theophilus and Glenn Adamson in discussion with artists Christie Brown and Carina Ciscato, exploring the themes of the exhibition. We filmed the entire symposium, showing how we looked for common ground in the disciplines, and our audience was fascinated by the stimulating exchanges which made their day memorable. This opened many doors both intellectually and practically for delegates.
The educational programme was extensive including workshops for the visually impaired and partially sighted. We ran a partnership project with Pitzhanger Manor ‘The Summer Arts College’ for young offenders also primary and SEN sessions and outreach workshops for older people. Carina Ciscato ran ceramic masterclasses and we creates a Village of Kilns event at Port Eliot in conjunction with Plymouth Art College.
‘This is a fascinating exhibition with contemporary artists taking inspiration from one of our most visionary architects. This is a show that should attract anyone with an interest in art, design and architecture and I hope it will introduce many more people to Soane’s work and legacy, including his gem of a Museum in Holborn and his home at Pitzhanger Manor.’ – Boris Johnson, Mayor of London
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