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Breaking Ground with India’s First Ever Ceramics Triennale


Breaking Ground with India’s First Ever Ceramics Triennale
Adil Writer A Deserted Barcode, 2018 80” (ht) x 18.6” (depth) x 6”/9”/18” widths Unfired clay & acrylic on canvas, Photograph courtesy of the artist and Jawahar Kala Kendra, Jaipur.


India’s first ever ceramics triennale 'Breaking Ground', opens at the end of the month in Jaipur, Rajasthan. Featuring works by renowned Indian and international sculptors, the exhibition aims to reinterpret and challenge perceptions of ceramics as an art form and simultaneously re-engage a rich cultural heritage.


Saraswati Renata, Anti-Gravity, 2018, Size variable Porcelain. Photograph courtesy of the artist and Jawahar Kala Kendra, Jaipur.


Presented by Jawahar Kala Kendra in collaboration with the Contemporary Clay Foundation, and carefully fostered under the guidance of Peter Nagy (Director, Nature Morte gallery), Ray Meeker (Co-Founder, Golden Bridge Pottery, Pondicherry, renowned artist and educator) and Pooja Sood (Director General, Jawahar Kala Kendra), the triennale was conceived by a team of six ceramicists. Anjani Khanna, Madhvi Subrahmanian, Neha Kudchadkar, Sharbani Das Gupta, Reyaz BadaruddinVineet Kacker, all play a significant role in determining the narrative of the show as an artist led initiative.


Rakhee Kane, Shifting Identities, 2018, 2 Ceramic walls with metal structure 9ft x 9ft, 9ft x 4ft Rammed earth wall in raw multi coloured clay 7ft x 10ft. Photograph courtesy of the artist and Jawahar Kala Kendra, Jaipur.


Looking inward for inspiration and outward to reinforce the status of ceramics, the committee will present 37 Indian and 13 international artist projects, 10 collaborations and 12 speakers, in addition to a symposium, film screenings and workshops. Informed by a rich artistic heritage in sculpture, Indian artists present their reinterpretations of this traditional craft and versatility of its medium, allowing them to seamlessly adapt it to a contemporary context.     


Vipul Kumar, Nature's Signature, 6 sculptural pieces, size of 24" x 48" x 65" each. Photograph courtesy of the artist and Jawahar Kala Kendra, Jaipur.


Exemplary of this is one of the larger works on view, Vipul Kumar’s Nature’s Signature, a work alluding to both the past and present. An immense porous structure with a rough, tactile exterior, the piece reflects a deconstructive process, expanding classic notions of ceramic practices. Simultaneously the unfinished appearance of stoneware bears resemblance to remnants of ancient ruins, deceptive of the unconventional and modern methods employed to create it. On a similarly large scale but with a two dimensional perspective, Adil Writer presents Deserted Barcode, a combination of unfired clay and acrylic on canvas forming a minimalist grey and gold aesthetic, further pushing the boundaries of ceramic sculpture.


Containing Time (Installation view from National Centre for Craft & Design UK 2017),  Ceramicbowls, frottages, texts, photographs, poems, soundscape, Size variable. Photograph courtesy of the artist and Jawahar Kala Kendra, Jaipur.

Jessika Edgar, Let’s All be Ethereal and Transcend (Detail/ Part of a larger installation), 2018, Object and stool: 59in x 25in x 18in. Photograph courtesy of the artist and Jawahar Kala Kendra, Jaipur.


The advent of the triennale is also demonstrative of a growing interest in multidisciplinary practices, particularly those reflective of art and design crossover.  Form and function are masked under the guise of innovative visuals as many of the works on display are furniture pieces and homeware objects. Jane Perryman produces an assemblage of ceramic bowls, texts and photographs in her installation Containing Time, while Jessika Edgar creates a whimsically suggestive chair. Shirley Bhatnagar exhibits fifty tableware objects made from porcelain and earthenware clays, resembling quirky faces with some even referencing art historical masterpieces. 


Shirley Bhatnagar, The Broken Promised(Detail), 2018, Installation of 50 tableware objects (Objects of varying sizes), Stoneware, Porcelain, earthenware clays, Photograph courtesy of the artist and Jawahar Kala Kendra, Jaipur.


Amongst the more well known participants, a collaborative project helmed by the esteemed Jacques Kaufmann, president of the International Academy of Ceramics (of which five Indian artists were recently made members), will be on view. Ever popular Thukral and Tagra will be creating an installation, expanding their burgeoning public art portfolio. Visitors can also expect to find an earthy creation by acclaimed sculptor Benitha Perciyal, whose work captures the essence of the medium through emphasizing the significance of organic materials and their tangibility. 


Jaques Kaufmann, Art Ichol at Maihar, Photograph courtesy of the artist and Jawahar Kala Kendra, Jaipur.


In providing viewers with a platform that recontextualizes a practice often considered a ‘craft’ rather than art and one executed by ‘artisans’ rather than artists, the curators of the show have propelled ceramics to the forefront of discourses surrounding contemporary art. An exciting endeavour aimed to broaden audiences’ horizons of what constitutes contemporary art, the eagerly anticipated event opens August 31st. 


For more information on the first ever Indian Ceramics Trienniale, click here

Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.

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