Oct 19, 2011

TREND | Postmodern Ceramics | Concepts and Methodologies



Paula Rice, Black Lazarus, Clay, 2004
Since the end of 20th century, there is a post-genre tendency in the arts in which characteristics of different genres are being exchanged. This also resulted in developing new techniques in ceramics using different visual art languages of painting, sculpture and digital media art. I researched postmodern characteristics, especially its methodological characteristics that show deconstruction tendency in terms of the form, the structure of color, and the content through which postmodern characteristics are separated from that of modern. By borrowing the social science term around deconstruction, the concept situated at the center of postmodern ideology, I recognized deconstruction method of ceramics. And by bringing out the differences and distinctions from the past traits, I reviewed their characteristics and the content, and examined how the deconstruction in social science can be applied to ceramics.

 I will deal with a part of deconstruction tendency characteristic of the late 20th century; in other words, several characteristic modes of the current working style of ceramic artists nowadays. The development of ceramics went through several phases. Firstly, it went through the period of moving beyond modernism and introducing distorted shapes fairly early in the 1950s and 1960s; the period of the birth of art ceramics in 1970s; the period where the postmodern tendency began to appear in the 1980s; and the period of the establishment and dissemination of full-fledged deconstruction after 1990s and until now.


 
Ronna Neuenschwander, Granary Guard Dog, Ceramic, Mixed Media

Through such examination, I found out that various deconstruction working methods of the preceding researchers who have gone with the specific situation of the period. As the result of studying deconstruction theory and its co-relations with deconstructed forms, I could concluded that the deconstruction in ceramics appear as damaged, unfinished, fragmented, metaphors, appropriation, or as mixed forms. I found specific examples of deconstruction in ceramics and categorized them as follows: those that accept social tendency or that deconstruct the identity of a human or an animal; those that have post-metaphysical tendency that utilize methods of kitsch-schlock, appropriation, adaptation; those that have post-material tendency which accomplish transformations of forms and the nature; and those that utilize post-genre style of mixed-media.



James Tisdale, Sins of the Father, Earthenware
After examining the postmodern characteristics of the contemporary ceramics, the aim of the late 20th century ceramists can be stated as follows. First, they attempt to overcome the limitation of the traditional ceramics and to create a special visual art ideology. They formulate an illusion like fragments of a culture that are separated from temporality through the deconstruction of functionality and its capability as a tool, and also from the insertion of deep thinking and emotions. Secondly, they are skeptical about the contemporary material culture, and they base their creativity on reminding human dignity and values. These artists express these in different ways by creating works that are incomplete, fragmented, rough, and complex as we can see in the works of Ronna Neuenschwander that show a human figure metaphorically turned into an animal figure and s composite image of a human and an animal. Such post-metaphysical free curves or divided images lead the future of the ceramics into the chaotic tendency. Thirdly, through the transformation of characteristics and the transformation of materials, these works demonstrate special deconstruction expressive method. Also by bringing different methodologies from other genres, they sought to overcome the limitation of ceramics and aim to create total art.


Jihyun Woo

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