Arcanum: mapping 18th century porcelain

de Waal, E. 2005. Arcanum: mapping 18th century porcelain.

TitleArcanum: mapping 18th century porcelain
Creatorsde Waal, E.
Description

Installation project that addresses the interface between architecture and ceramics. In this and its companion piece, ‘House for an Art Lover’, an installation at Blackwell, de Waal aimed to interpret particular spaces rather than reproduce solitary ‘exhibition’ pieces. De Waal’s research aim lies at the interface between architecture and ceramics: the interpretation of specific spaces rather than reproducing solitary ‘exhibition’ pieces. This interest emerges from a concern to extend the interpretation of crafts and architecture, an area that has been little theorised.

Two interconnecting projects extended this. Arcanum: Mapping Eighteenth Century Ceramics at the National Museum and Gallery of Wales arose from the Museum’s concern to reinterpret its major collection of 18th century European porcelain. The exhibition (June 2005-September 2005) included examples of normative exhibition practice, some radical new displays of the historic porcelain coupled with two installation pieces of de Waal’s own work made in response to the research. This project was developed further by an intervention House for an Art Lover at Blackwell, an Arts and Crafts mansion designed by Baillie Scott (September 2005-January 2006). This project explored how ceramics could be used as a sculptural medium to interrogate architectural spaces.

The idea that an environment could work as a resource for practice in a similar way to an historic collection is proving influential. The methodology of these projects has been cited in the Arts Council museumaker project that brings museums and artists together. The discovery of correspondences between 18th century poetics of display and installation was influential in rethinking the display of other museum collections.

The dissemination of both projects was considerable through publications, seminars and reviews. For Arcanum a bi-lingual catalogue was published. An international seminar was given. An interview was recorded by the National Electronic and Video Archive of the Crafts (NEVAC), available online. For House for an Art Lover a catalogue designed by Pentagram with photographs by Graham Murrell was published. Two museums, MIMA, and the Lakelands Art Trust also purchased work from the exhibition.

Date2005
Output mediaInstallation pieces, historic porcelain

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