An exhibition by UMPRUM – Studio of Ceramics and Porcelain
Dates: 16th September – 24th September 2017
Opening hours: Sat–Tues 10am–6pm, Wen & Fri 10am–7pm
Late night opening: Thursday 21st September 10am–9pm
Location: 2 Cromwell Place, South Kensington, London, UK
Bohemian Mud is an exhibition by the Ceramics and Porcelain Studio of the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague. Highlighting distinctive contemporary trends in Czech ceramics, the exhibition explores their relationship to traditional production.
Despite the calamities of nationalisation and privatisation that befell the Czech ceramics industry, producers and businesses have somehow survived. And just as they were altered by the tumultuous historic events that played out in Central Europe, Czech handcrafted ceramics studios now compete on the international market, reflecting the advancement of a globalised world.
The exhibition showcases how media-specific artistic thinking, technological innovations and material-based experiments result in finished products. Ceramics is shown here as a medium that can expand to adapt to different fields, reflecting a heightened reality of seemingly infinite possibilities and constraints. For instance, the apparent constraint of not having access to a 3D-printer becomes an enabling part of the search for current and timeless forms. Similar ambiguities are expressed through other mechanical devices. In the age of the dishwasher, the precarious work of washing dishes by hand remains – a two-sided metaphor for manual labour and the economic migration of Western Slavs to the British Isles. Therefore, ceramics is not just about bespoke pieces of art but also about cheap mass production. Do we opt for the bargain-basement supermarket cup or the precious collector item? The choice lies in the ever-shifting space between the price we pay and real artistic value.