Bringing together two of the UK’s most significant ceramic artists Julian Stair and Clare Twomey
Legacy is the latest Crafts Council Curate With Us project in partnership with Forty Hall & Estate in Enfield. The exhibition brings together, for the first time, Julian Stair and Clare Twomey who both work in ceramic and explore scale, materials and social context.
In marking the passing of one hundred years since the start of the First World War, this exhibition offers the opportunity to reflect on both the collective and personal impact of loss, legacy, testimony and commemoration.
The two works Everyman’s Dream by Clare Twomey and Reliquary for a Common Man by Julian Stair, whilst not directly concerned with the First World War, encompass themes and ideas associated with remembrance and the significance of the First World War. The combined presentation of these works uniquely addresses the dual theme of the individual and the collective, often seen in remembrance terms as the dichotomy of the one and the many.
Everyman’s Dream by Clare Twomey
For Everyman’s Dream, Clare Twomey set up an open call to men asking to write down their aspiration of personal legacy.
Everyman’s Dream will be installed as a ‘field’ of 1,000 bowls, each holding a unique quote that presents a personal ambition of future legacy left by an individual - collectively they create a world within a world. Within these works Twomey has maintained her concerns with materials, craft practice, and historic and social context.
Twomey works with clay to create large-scale installations, sculptures and site-specific works, in which in which the viewer often participates and takes an active part in the conceptual meaning.
Over the past 10 years she has exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Tate, Crafts Council, Sir John Soane’s Museum, Museum of Modern Art Kyoto Japan, the Eden Project and the Royal Academy of Arts.
Reliquary for a Common Man by Julian Stair
Julian Stair’s latest work explores a universal theme, that of death as a human experience, whilst also drawing on the historically significant meanings of ‘the pot’ as vessel.
The Crafts Council has acquired one intensely personal piece from his recent exhibition Quietus, a touring exhibition of human-sized urns, sarcophagi and vertical burial vessels exhibited at Somerset House, The National Museum of Wales, Winchester Cathedral, and mima, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art.
The central element of Reliquary for a Common Man is a single hand-thrown bone china cinerary jar, created using the cremated remains of Leslie James Cox, Julian Stair’s friend and uncle-in-law. The display is accompanied by audio-visual components - ordinary family film footage shot on Super-8 film, a slideshow of family portraits, and an interview recorded between Leslie and the Socialist Party of Great Britain, of which he was a member, about his political views and experiences of the Second World War.
The inclusion of audio-visual elements marks a progression in Julian’s work, which reveals the multi-faceted nature of pottery and its potential for wider social engagement. The work, through its intensely personal context, offers another aspect of the universal experience, promoting an evocation of a personal relationship, current or past - an Uncle Les - and acting as a testimony to the worth and merit of all such people.