Much has been written on the story of sculptural ceramics since the nineteenth century. From Gauguin and Picasso to the collector’s pieces of Bernard Leach and the British Studio Ceramic Movement, through to American Expressionism, installation and performance - ceramic artists have continuously challenged accepted norms and altered perceptions. Frequently referencing the broad traditions of craft, they have taken the opportunity to reinterpret, subvert or even exist beyond these traditions as each generation has felt, according to Edmund de Waal, “the complexity and expansion of the field for themselves, turning away from the past, doubting the previous generation’s ability to renew the art of ceramics.”1 But as we settle into the 21st Century it has become increasingly clear that, whatever tropes emerge, ceramics is now, as Paul Gauguin once famously declared, “a central art.” Today’s ceramic artists apply their skills in continually new and exciting ways, addressing ideas and exploring conceptual concerns in ways their predecessors could never have imagined and people are paying attention to this evolution; as is evidenced by the increasing presence of ceramics in established galleries, at international art fairs, and in the media.
Since its establishment in 2012, Taste Contemporary has championed the work of both new and established international artists who work in clay. Founder, Monique Deul, believes that while ceramics is still a rather untapped segment of the art world, perceptions are changing as “art collectors are discovering the leading lights of the ceramic art world”. Some of these leading lights are now featured in a new exhibition at Musée Ariana, Geneva, Switzerland. For many years Musée Ariana has initiated valuable partnerships with galleries as a way of highlighting works by internationally acclaimed artists who have contributed to the canon of contemporary ceramics and glass. In 2017 this collaboration was extended to Monique Deul, who was invited to develop an exhibition featuring several of the gallery’s artists. The result is Contained|Contenu which showcases seven distinct and unique voices. Co-curated by Monique Deul and Ana Quintero Pérez from Musée Ariana, Contained|Contenu explores the notion of containment, of inside and outside, of borders and beyond.
Today’s ceramic artists apply their skills in continually new and exciting ways, addressing ideas and exploring conceptual concerns in ways their predecessors could never have imagined and people are paying attention to this evolution.