When the artist Grayson Perry won the Turner Prize in 2003 for his witty and subversive ceramic pots it was widely hailed as a breakthrough for the status of ceramics in the contemporary art world. The exhibition features three of Perry's early pots and a plate featuring imagery exploring social and political issues, as well as other international contemporary artists who have used ceramics in their work.
Several artists in the exhibition re-work found porcelain figurines to create new narratives and meanings: Bouke de Vries originally trained as a ceramic restorer and used his skills to turn new and often startling artworks. Barnaby Barford's witty tableaux such as ‘Go on You Lightweight. Down It!' have been installed amongst the Gallery's collection of eighteenth-century Bow Porcelain and his animated film ‘Damaged Goods', a love story between two found figurines, is showing in the panelling of the historic townhouse, alongside Ruth Claxton's assemblages of altered figurines and furniture.
Edmund de Waal's sculptural arrangement of his pots extends the language of Minimalist art and provides a powerful contrast to the almost Baroque sexual exuberance of Rachel Kneebone's porcelain wall sconces and Jeff Koon's kitsch porcelain ‘Puppy Vase.'
The Garden Gallery features ‘Broken Things (Obsidian Mirror)' by Livia Marin, a mural of 64 plates featuring the transfer of the familiar Willow Pattern in endless variations, playing with ideas of individuality and mass production.