Meditations on Breaking Vessels : Karin Lehmann, 'Sediment Sampling' 2014 and Ai Weiwei 'Breaking a Han Dynasty Urn' 1995

I have been meditating on the idea of deconstructing and breaking my own work in a performance piece for the last two years. I've come close to forming a solid plan of execution many times, but circumstances, location, and the way I want to present the piece always meld into a new iteration of the piece faster than I can act on the impulse. It came to me in a moment of deep unrest with what I was making, and wanting to capture the sentiment around a potters attachment to their intention for their piece despite obvious lack of control in how it takes its final form. As I moved into a place of finally feeling like I was proud of what I was making, the intense need to create this cathartic act of destruction and release of control (or is it the reassertion of control?) subsided. I am afraid that moving past the moment when this need to break, to destroy, to heal held such power over me might weaken the emotion in the performance, but I am hoping that in 2018 the way forward becomes clear and I am able to bring this creative/destructive/cathartic act out of hibernation into fruition. I'm also afraid someone else besides Ai Weiwei, because that's different, will do it first. So perhaps this post is really just a grasping attempt to mark that I had and have this intention. 

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In the meantime, I just came across Swiss artist Kerin Lehmann's installation of 200 unfired clay pots that were filled with water and deconstructed themselves over the course of several hours in a project titled 'Sediment Sampling'. As a potter, seeing someone work with the colors of the raw clay which so few get to see but are some of my favorite muted tones, the decay inherent in the medium, and the the reclamation of the uselessness of so many imperfect forms labored over really resonated with my experience. And I imagine even more so if I were a wheel thrower. See below for the most incredible development of color and deterioration...

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'Clay, Body' by Romy Northover and Shanita Sims

This collaboration between ceramicist and performance artist Romy Northover and photographer Shanita Sims moved me months ago. I am constantly toying with the idea of using clay as part of my practice in it's messy, rawness rather than a medium to shape and harden into a finished form. As I gather pieces of work around clay into this strange and unfamiliar, but possibly exciting, internet home, this is one I wanted to be sure to share. 

Full Story at No. 6.

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