The large-scale wall relief entitled Insignificance began as an exploration of the relationship between mankind and nature and the structure of the bodies was inspired by dynamic rock structures off the coast of Maine where the sense of vulnerability in the face of nature’s impassivity is strongly felt. A further connection through both form and content made reference to the 15th century transi tombs as seen in the Louvre museum where the finely carved reclining statue of the aristocrat gives way to the carved stone cadaver below as a reminder of mortality. The fragmented nature of the bodies connects to the artist’s interest in the overlap between archaeology and psychoanalysis where layers are carefully removed to find some hidden knowledge or some scrap of narrative. The layout of the figures represented an archaeological dig but could also be read as a map of a landscape. Both the scale of the work and its content develops debates within the ceramic discipline about the need for presentation in wider context to illustrate serious meaning. The exhibition in Cardiff was commissioned with reference to the themes that were being discussed in the parallel conference, also called The Fragmented Figure. The artists had all been filmed making the work and this study formed part of the debate. The conference ran for 2 days and featured many speakers from aboard. Although the exhibition focussed on the ceramic medium the general tone of the conference was not media specific and it encouraged a multi-disciplinary approach. The artist gave a presentation paper “Embodying Transformation” developing themes around the embodiment of rituals within objects and the importance of archaeology as a central theme in the work and this will be published in July 2006 in Interpreting Ceramics, an online refereed journal.
An earlier opportunity to show the work at the well-established Rufford Craft Centre in Nottinghamshire, with several other internationally know ceramic artists, allowed the work a first broader showing but the central issues behind it were brought to the foreground within the context of UWIC since the approach of even well known applied arts venues remains relatively narrow.
|Web address (URL)||http://www.fragmentedfigure.net/pages/c_brown01.htm|