Monday, 12 June 2017

Musing and Mummenschanz

Earlier this year, I weighed in on a Facebook thread trying to analyse and hypothesise over a call for entry to a ceramics exhibition. More than half of those in the discussion thought the terms of proposal sounded rather high-minded, ergo it naturally warranted an in-kind submission. On a lark, I began crafting my statement – with a little inspiration from – and many things came to mind. Foremost, it seems that a great many artist statements comprise many words and little substance. Perhaps that comes from a place of insecurity, of writer and/or reader. Or, perhaps it comes from my own insistence that my words, and my work, have substance.
Of course, I couldn’t craft a statement without an image – it was rather meditative to make patterns in soft clay spread out on a plaster drying table. And then it all came together as I was immediately reminded of Mummenschanz*, a Swiss theatre troupe that performs in silence. They appeared on The [original] Muppet Show with a performance of two characters communicating by means of molding and manipulating their face masks of clay. It was freaky and fantastic! It was also a lot of substance, without words.

Looking now at what I wrote, it was a good exercise, as it seems that the general intent of my practice is still there…it’s just buried amongst the words.

“Ode to Mummenschanz 2017 (in process, detail): porcelain with organic stain, thrown and altered, unfired
This work was inspired by recent studies into the consequence of the deconstruct of the ceramic medium as a metaphor for each of our own personal journeys across the vast expanse of life. Temporal derivatives become transformed through diligent and academic practice, leaving the viewer with an insight into the outposts of our culture. As a conduit for communication, the work resonates a most primal need of the human condition, to find the commonalities amongst us in bridging the inherent crevasse between the sublime and the ridiculous.”

(*Check them out! )