Artist fires up interest in ceramics

A ceramics artist used facilities at the University of Wolverhampton’s School of Art to create a work of art from clay which is on display at a major exhibition in Denmark.

Take Stock is made up of 4,000 extruded blocks and during the course of the show visitors to the Museum Jorn will be invited to take a unit of the sculpture away with them. These interactions with the ever decreasing sculpture will be captured on camera. Once the last block is gone, the sculpture will be replaced by a projection of the disappearing work, played in reverse.

Lawrence Epps, an artist who has been responsible for over 14,000 ceramic sculptures placed across the cities of London, Manchester and Stoke-on-Trent in large-scale art events, was approached by the Museum Jorn in Silkeborg to take part in the exhibition.

LER!/CLAY! is running until 10th June 2018 and presents eight internationally acclaimed artists who all work experimentally and innovatively with clay as a material.

 

Lawrence said: “I came up with the idea for this installation when I was working in an office and I used to feel pretty zoned out as I sat hunched over my computer keyboard staring at the screen.

“I started to question the tedium of what I was physically doing and noticed that a lot of careers involve pushing little buttons on a computer. Then, over time, I also began to notice the extraordinary number of unrecognised hours so many people spend in a similar way – not only while doing paid work but also during unpaid ‘leisure’ time where people give over large chunks of their lives to the seductive power of technology and willingly submit to domination by big data and its accompanying surveillance. In so many ways, it seems that we’re at a point where ideas and time have been converted into pure commodity. While it saddens me, I wanted to acknowledge these parts of life and also create an artwork which manifests time in some way.

“With Take Stock, visitors to the Museum Jorn are invited to take one unit of the installation away with them and unbuild the sculpture.  Over the course of the show, the visitor’s interactions with the ever decreasing work will be captured on camera.  Once the last block is gone, the sculpture will be replaced by a projection of these interactions played in reverse:  the public will be seen to be building the work, constructing the structure, the system, piece by piece and choice by choice.  At the same time, the original work will end up in the hands and homes of visitors while the museum will be left only with images.”

Paul McAllister, Course Leader in Glass and Ceramics in the Wolverhampton School of Art, said:  “Lawrence made use of our large scale trolley kiln to fire his work and also a diamond clipper saw which allowed him to make 4,000 extruded bricks which he used to create his sculpture.

“We have facilities on site in the Wolverhampton School of Art that aren’t readily available for artists and we were really pleased to make a connection with Lawrence through one of our sponsors, Potclays, and one of our Applied Arts (Ceramics) graduates, Surjit Sanghera, who is working part-time for him.”

Several students from Applied Arts and Fine Art worked with Lawrence to help create the work at Potclays Brownhills clay plant using the clay extrusion facilities they have there.

The University of Wolverhampton has amongst the best ceramics facilities in the UK.

Lawrence Epps is an artist based at Wysing Arts Centre working in a conceptual way with ceramics. Recent solo presentations include: AGAIN / the very last time at firstsite, Colchester 2015 and the 2015 British Ceramic Biennial, a solo exhibition at The Front Room, Cambridge, 2014.  Group exhibitions include: States of Play at Humber Street Gallery, Hull UK City of Culture 2017, Human Resources, installation in Body Double at the Frederick Meijer Sculpture Park, Michigan, USA, 2012; installation at the Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester, and interventions of 14,000 little clay men across Manchester. London and Stoke-on-Trent for FutureEverything, 2012 and the British Ceramics Biennial 2011. Residencies include the European Ceramics Work Centre, Ibstock Bricks, Potclays and Wysing Arts Centre. Awards include: The Fresh Award and Bursary, 2011 British Ceramics Biennial; Art in Clay graduate award 2011.

Anyone interested in studying Applied Arts (Ceramics and Glass) should visit the next Open Day on Saturday 21st April 2018.

ENDS

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