Module 2: European cultural lifestyle in ceramics – from baroque until today

Summary:

The aim of the exhibition was to show the ceramic development in partner countries using the example of typical ceramics/porcelain from the collections of the partner museums. Further, the development was experienced with the help of museum’s educational and multimedia offerings.

Responsible:

Museo Internazionale delle Ceramiche in Faenza

Eesti Tarbekunsti- ja Disainimuuseum, Tallinn

Porzellanikon – Staatliches Museum für Porzellan, Hohenberg a. d. Eger / Selb

Rīgas pašvaldības kultūras iestāžu apvienības Rīgas Porcelāna Muzejs

Duration:

1 December 2014 – 31 August 2017

Exhibition venues:

The Muzej primenjene umetnosti, Belgrade 19 May – 27 June 2015

Porzellanikon – Staatliches Museum für Porzellan, Hohenberg a. d. Eger / Selb, Selb 31 July – 15 November 2015

The Museo Nacional de Cerámica y Artes Suntuarias »González Martí«, Valencia 15 January – 10 April 2016

The International Museum of Ceramics in Faenza 23 April – 11 September 2016

The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent 1 October – 6 January 2017

The Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design, Tallinn 22 January – 26 March 2017

The Association of Culture Institutions of Riga City Council, The Riga Porcelain museum 6 April  – 25 June 2017


Travelling exhibition – European cultural lifestyle in ceramics – from baroque until today

 

How to get a real feeling for the role of ceramics in past and present? How to offer to a wide public the contents of the European project Ceramics and its Dimensions? How to enhance the value of the different cultural ceramics Heritage of each country the project includes? The exhibition was consequently designed, to answer these questions.

It intended to explore the past usage of ceramics in order to better know our present situation, starting from the every-day ceramic production to reach the great possibilities of ceramics in any field, including the world of art. The exchange of mutual knowledge and the sharing of rich ceramic histories will strengthen the role of European ceramics in order to face the difficult future challenges that, in particular, the cultural policies have to carry on. It is necessary to be part of a context where each partner offers a fundamental brick to build a reliable structure. This exhibition left a powerful message, attracted the attention of several targets of audience, and established the fundamental and basilar role of ceramics. Consisting of a corpus of items coming from the museum partners, it focused the attitude of people towards ceramics from different points of view: historical/artistic, educational strategies and virtual access to collections and heritages. The MIC offered to the project a long lasting experience in the organisation of exhibitions, together with a central role in educational activities and, in general, in the managing of all the aspects linked to ceramics; to testify that in 2011 the MIC received from UNESCO the acknowledgment of Place testifying a culture of peace – Expression of ceramic art in the world.

The educational ambitions regarding this exhibition manifested in several programmes and activities, e.g.: Thousands of people visiting the MIC have enjoyed the „Ceramic lifestyle Laboratories“ with topics like „Joking with fire“ and „Food on my plate“. Workshops for school pupils were also carried out at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery. A guided tour for refugee families was held at the Porzellanikon. Some of those programmes are now part of the toolkit „Cooking with Clay“ (see M7) and available in the museum partner institutions throughout Europe. Overall this exhibition reached many people and about 100.000 visitors from all over Europe.

This event put together several museums around a common theme and stimulated a dialogue around cultures and ceramic traditions. Each museum had committed itself to analyse the role of ceramics in the everyday life for its country from the Baroque age to current times. New forms and new decorations are the symbol of each century: the 17th century with the magnificence table sets of the “Bianchi of Faenza” and the tiles of the Spanish production; the 18th century focused on the discovery of the secret of hard porcelain, a veritable revolution for everyday life; the 19th century with the white earthenware from Great Britain, which soon spread throughout Europe and was popular in the production of table adornments, and with the oriental taste; the early 20th century with the spread of ‚universally‘ recognised styles such as Art Nouveau and Déco, and the post war years, with the introduction of designers and architects in creating objects for the modern table and industrial tiles for home hygiene in the kitchen and bathroom Ceramics penetrated modern everyday life in a vast array of forms, functionalities and research. This overwhelming variety of uses and applications reflects the immense ductility of the ceramic language, used for centuries by mankind throughout the world, characterised by the ability to adapt to requirements and tastes dictated by lifestyle.

The accompanying catalogue has been published by the International Ceramics Museum of Ceramics in Faenza. It contains essays written by all the curators of the museum partners and it gives an excellent overview on the history of ceramics throughout four centuries of ceramics in Europe. One of the challenges in realizing the travelling of the exhibition through Europe was the transport of the items and last but not least of the exhibition scenography including the show cases, the information panels, the touch screen and all the equipment needed. The exhibition design was basically developed from the MIC and the PorzellanikonSelb/Hohenberg an der Eger and realized through its craftsmen, who can reverse back on long time experience. The design was adjusted in the best way to the different conditions of each destination. By this chance the exhibition changed its look from place to place.

It also has to be mentioned, that two European museums supported the exhibition with their important loans of ceramics: the National Museum of Slovenia in Ljubljana, and the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague, even though they did not host the exhibition in their facilities.