The first exhibition to present artists who have worked in clay from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present day. From the individual ceramic vessel to installation and performance art, clay has been widely used by some of the most innovative artists of the twentieth century.
From Gauguin to Gormley
Admission Â£4, concessions Â£3
A Secret History of Clay: From Gauguin to Gormley is the first exhibition to present artists who have worked in clay from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present day. From the individual ceramic vessel to installation and performance art, clay has been widely used by some of the most innovative artists of the twentieth century. Starting with Paul Gauguin, who wrote a treatise on clay calling it a â€˜central artâ€™, the exhibition unearths a little-known international history of its use by groups such as the Fauves, Czech Cubists, Bauhaus, Russian Suprematists, German Expressionists, Italian Futurists, and CoBrA, as well as by individual artists such as Marcel Duchamp, Joan MirÃ³, Pablo Picasso, Lucio Fontana and Isamu Noguchi. The recent return by many contemporary artists to the material clay is reflected in the work of artists as diverse as Roger Hiorns, Rebecca Warren, Edmund de Waal and Turner Prize winner Grayson Perry and also includes such prominent figures as Ken Price, James Turrell, Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman and Antony Gormley.
Protean in nature, clay has been overlooked as a medium precisely for what makes it so attractive to artists: physical, gestural, somatic, temporal, fragile, malleable and unpredictable it is inherently subversive as a material. That it is also playful and democratic may account for the mediumâ€™s exclusion from traditional histories of art and accounts of Modernism as well as from artistsâ€™ own oeuvre. The â€˜high unseriousnessâ€™ for which critics like Hilton Kramer attacked those working in clay, consigned such works to the status of non-art or craft.
This exhibition is therefore a unique opportunity to see works by some of the greatest artists of the twentieth century, many of which have never been seen before in this country. The exhibition will expand conventional ideas about the artistic and historical use of clay by not only including vessels and sculptural objects but also through films, photographs and performance, including a recreation of the ceramic music room by Wassily Kandinsky, a domestic interior made entirely from contemporary ceramic works, an installation comprising over one tonne of oilclay by Sekine Nobuo and site-specific works by Andy Goldsworthy and Chen Zhen.
To complement the exhibition, Tate Liverpool is showing Antony Gormleyâ€™s Field from 10 April â€“ 22 August. This American version was made in Mexico and is made up of 35,000 clay terracotta figures ranging in height from from 8-26 centimetres.
Albert Dock L3 4BB