Steven Claydon’s latest exhibition at Sadie Coles HQ centres on a new group of ceramic objects. Ideas of mortality, grief and rebirth are mediated through material processes and historical references. Produced using ancient Japanese firing technology, the ceramic vessels invoke sources including the wabi-cha tea ceremony, modern munitions, and funereal reliquaries such as the lachrymatory – a small vial of terracotta or glass found in ancient Roman tombs, once thought to have held the tears of mourners.
The exhibition revolves around the concept of vanitas – the symbolic expression of life’s transience. Four assemblages, each titled Mines, Bombs and Spirits, consist of small-scale ceramic containers placed on top of laser-cut aluminium tables. The vessels were fired over a sixty-hour period in an anagama ‘hole kiln’ and subsequently exhumed from a mass of ash and cinder – a process of arcane forging and archaeological retrieval.
The kiln acts, in this way, as a site of destruction, incarceration and rebirth. In their conical and orblike shapes, the resulting objects closely evoke the stoneware pottery of sixteenth-century Japan and the associated ritual of the tea ceremony.
|12 January 2022 - 26 February 2022
|Tues - Sat 11am - 6pm
|Sadie Coles HQ (Bury Street)
|8 Bury Street, London, SW1Y 6AB
|442074938611 / email@example.com / www.sadiecoles.com/