Catherine Bertola, detail from The People’s Collection of Pottery, Brecknockshire 2009, courtesy of Workplace Gallery, Gateshead.
Exhibition preview: Artist l Object l Project at Brecknock Museum & Gallery until October 31 2009.
Brecknock Museum and Gallery in Brecon is hosting an exhibition by a trio of artists who have been exploring ways of responding to the fine ceramics collection of Amgueddfa Cymru, National Museums Wales.
Artist l Object l Project, features three major new installations developed by Catherine Bertola, Michael Cousin and Deirdre Nelson using museum pieces to investigate the human, universal nature of the ceramic object.
Catherine Bertola’s site-specific installation explores the forgotten and invisible histories of places, people and communities. The People’s Collection of Pottery, Brecknockshire 2009 is in effect an assembled and catalogued temporary museum collection of pottery - owned by people from the Brecknockshire area.
Reflecting on the personal significance and everyday purpose of the items and the ongoing importance of ceramic as part of our personal and cultural heritage Bertola created wallpaper called Blue Babylonica, based on the familiar Swansea Willow pattern to act as a backdrop to the collection.
Filmmaker Michael Cousin looks at the history and decline of commemorative ceramics as an outlet for political and social commentary in his film H1N1.
Selecting a jug made by the Cambrian Pottery, Swansea, dating from 1814 and depicting the banishment of Napoleon to Elba he has made a digital recreation of the jug featuring a current news story with a series of images exploring the paranoia and global hysteria surrounding swine flu.
Michael Cousin, still from H1N1, 2009, HD digital file, courtesy of the artist.
Deirdre Nelson is interested in the human stories behind collections and objects. In No Bed of Roses and the sound piece, Shift (in collaboration with Matt Hulse), she focuses on the Nantgarw China Works in South Wales.
Using the lowly 10% success rate of ceramics in the firing process to create an installation, she explores the gulf between the luxury of the finished object and the poverty, disappointment and determined perseverance involved in its production.
Artist l Object l Project has been organised in collaboration with Brecknock Museum & Gallery and the University of Glamorgan as part of Celf Cymru Gyfan – ArtShare Wales, National Museum Wales’ visual arts partnership programme aimed at increasing access to the national art collection.
See also The Go Between, a major international conference focusing on the role of the artist as mediator between collections and audiences.