Julian Stair, Quietus: The Vessel, Death and the Human Body at National Museum Cardiff

By Culture24 Reporter | 05 April 2013

Exhibition preview: Julian Stair, Quietus: The Vessel, Death and the Human Body, National Museum Cardiff, Cardiff, April 6 – July 7 2013

A photo of two tall curvy brown pots inside a gallery
© Photo: Jan Baldwin
Commissioned by Middlesbrough’s MIMA, destined for Winchester Cathedral and currently under the scrutiny of National Museum Wales’ archaeologists, potter and writer Julian Stair’s Quietus is an exploration of death and burial.

But rather than resonating a sense of the macabre, it positions the deathly ceremonial as an opportunity to celebrate life.

“There is an age-old relationship between pottery and human burial rituals,” observes Andrew Renton, the Head of Applied Art.

“At National Museum Cardiff we use the archaeology collection to make connections between Julian Stair’s work and pottery used in burials by the people of ancient Wales.

“It is a spectacular and ground-breaking exhibition, as well as a deeply moving and personal one.”

Stair is a dextrous artist. He specialises in site-specific installations, but the scale of his works range from the domestic to the monumental, realised in stoneware, porcelain and brick clay.

Curators say his funerary vessels – created over ten years – are “very beautiful”, with a focus on the containment of perished bodies, cinerary jars and life size sarcophagi.

  • Open 10am-5pm (closed Monday). Admission free. Follow the museum on Twitter @museum_cardiff.
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