Messing with modernism

Damon Moon, Creative Director of JamFactory’s Ceramics studio, presents new works reflecting his interests in the history of modernism and ceramic making in a global context.

In this exhibition, Moon concentrates on ceramic processes through history, identifying and contextualising the varied approaches to making. He looks at the period of late Modernism in particular, identifying it as the moment where the attitude toward ceramics seemed aesthetically seamless, in a flow from architecture to furniture design to decorative and functional objects.

“In part it was an approach to materiality, where the nature of clay and glaze – sometimes rough, sometimes smooth, muted and earthy in tone or high-keyed and colourful – combined with the enduring potential of the vessel as a sculptural form, found its home within buildings where timber and stone, brick and concrete were in turn given their own voice by architects and designers who wanted to strip away the legacy of cloaking veneers.”- Moon says.

This exhibition is not only about process and object, but a lesson in the history of ceramics. Where the modernist period was a time for experimentation, some of the most progressive and experimental work was appearing out of Scandinavian countries.

In partnership with and influenced by the industrial processes being used, clay was allowed a freedom from many of its traditional restraints. At the same time, English speaking countries were still steeped in more conservative approaches, and slower to arrive at a more experimental approach. In the United States and England for example, there remained much censorship and purism in the ideologies of the craft.

Through this exhibition, Moon take us back to the idea of making. In raw muted colours and subtle forms, Moon’s work re-creates this period, with his own story attached. In the flow of works, there is a certain nostalgia in his tale.

We see the practical progression of the craft, from the raw form to the considered object, where Moon says “the emphasis was instead on the formal qualities of the object; its size, shape, and colour, maybe a line or pattern and its ability to please the eye, and of course the hand.”

Damon Moon is a second-generation potter based in South Australia. He first started working with clay at the age of fifteen with his father, the Australian potter Milton Moon A.M.

Damon Moon is a well-known writer and commentator on ceramics. His PhD thesis examined the development of Australian ceramics in the post-war period. Moon has published and lectured extensively on the culture and aesthetics of Australian ceramic history. He has wide experience across the visual arts, curating and authoring projects in diverse areas such as Indonesian contemporary art and contemporary curatorial practice both in Australia and overseas.

Showing at JamFactory Adelaide from 9 December – 22 January.

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