Gifts Today magazine

Blue and white exhibition announced

Organised by the Fondation d’entreprise Bernardaud, a new exhibition opening next month will showcase contemporary artists’ interpretation of blue and white porcelain

Every summer a contemporary art exhibition is organised by the Fondation d’entreprise Bernardaud, the purpose to show visitors the rich and varied modes of expression used for ceramics all over the world.

This year, the exhibition will focus on blue and white porcelain with My Blue China and will take place in Limoges from June 12 through November 21, 2015.

Recent cases of withdrawal into cultural identity have led many artists to ponder the phenomenon of cultural globalisation.

My Blue China sheds new light on the issues at hand, bringing together the works of 12 internationally renowned contemporary artists that make explicit reference to blue and white porcelain.

The exhibition will show the extent to which this universal leitmotif – whether applied to ceramics, painting, photography or video-making – refreshes our reflections on aesthetics, identity, hybrid art and cultural imperialism.

If globalisation required a banner, it would be blue and white, the colors of the United Nations. They could serve as a wellspring of cultural globalisation, then stand as a universal symbol of harmony between peoples.

Delft and Meissen made their contribution while Victorian England, via the Willow pattern, kicked off unprecedented growth in the trade of blue and white porcelain. The images produced by 18th-century engravers in England were inspired by and imitated Chinese culture, sometimes nearly to the point of parody.

In his famous epigram, “I find it harder and harder to live up to my blue china,” Oscar Wilde both paid tribute to and satirised this craze for exotic refinement, warning against resorting to imitation.

It’s a fact that the Far Orient as depicted on pieces of Willow china or in Hokusai woodcuts only existed in the artist’s mind. The notion, imprecise and multi-faceted, still has the power to sustain and fire the imagination of many like-minded artists.

My Blue China offers a new perspective on the blue and white porcelain that came from China to Europe, flooding the latter starting in the 17th century. It “went global” well before the modern concept of globalisation developed.

The twelve artists presented in My Blue China offer their interpretations of the Willow Pattern or other types of blue and white china (e.g. Delft, Sèvres, Talavera or Victorian majolica) in the form of ceramics, paintings, sculpture, digital photographs and videos.

This exhibition shows how blue and white porcelain relates to and illuminates current issues of aesthetics, identity and acculturation within the overall context of cultural globalisation.

The exhibition takes place in 27 avenue Albert Thomas, Limoges, from June 12 through November 21, 2015.

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