The delicate periwinkle blue constellations and indigo sea waves on a porcelain white ceramic background are a part of Delhi-based ceramicist Kristine Michael’s idea of “natural world”. Titled Sea and Stars, it represents “a symbiosis between women and nature with elements of seed, growth and renewal” and is one of the 40 ceramic works and part of a group show titled “Transition/Tradition”, which is on at Gallerie Nvya, in Delhi, and comprises 13 Indian and 17 South Korean artists. The show, which is a collateral event of India Art Fair 2016, highlights the “modernist conceptual thinking” of these artists with regard to ceramic art and its place in the artistic realm in the current scenario.
The Harappan terracotta figurines and incense burners of the ancient Korean dynasties reveal how ceramic art has always been a way of artistic expression since ancient times in India and South Korea. “The tradition of ceramics is embedded in the rich heritage of art and craft of both countries,”says 50-year-old Michael, who is also the curator of the exhibition in Delhi. A simultaneous edition of the same exhibition is on at Seoul and has been curated by Kim Jin Kyoung as a part of a South Korean-Indian international exchange exhibition. “This exhibition looks at contemporary post-modern ceramics and their joint concerns with the material, traditional aesthetics and techniques and the conceptual frameworks beyond the continuation of modernism and an adherence to tradition,” says Michael.
An eclectic mix of floor installations, murals, terracotta figurines and audio video installations, it has five different sections- Natural World, Earth dwellers, Transition/Tradition, Threshold and Arcadia. While Sea Bed by Delhi-based PR Daroz depicts his fascination for bold imageries of weathered stone which are ravaged by water and wind by creating ceramic columns, Collecting Mutation by Sheen Yi Chul (South Korea) shows “chaos and the interface” in the modern world by creating a microscopic depiction of a cell and disturbances in it.
“Transition/Tradition” also addresses the issue of considering ceramic art object from an aesthetic point of view; something that is worthy of being a centerpiece and not to be kept in some obscure corner. Fifty-year-old Delhi-based ceramist Madhur Sen, whose work Companions is a combination of sculpture and pottery, feels that the government needs to do a lot more to encourage ceramic art in terms of giving the artists recognition as artists and not potters. “We need skill development opportunities, space, regular supply of clay and proper kilns.” says Sen, whose work piece is an armless man perched on a rock with his dog and staring at him.