Philippe Barde, Jacques Kaufmann - Ten Years of Travels in China
4 September 2009 - 18 October 2009
This exhibition, organised to coincide with the Parcours céramique in Carouge and the 50th anniversary of the Swiss Ceramic Association, presents a shared vision of China through the works of Jacques Kaufmann and Philippe Barde. These two world-renowned ceramists were each invited, independently of the other, to work in China in the ceramic manufactures of Fuping, near Xi’an, of Tangshan (Hebei), and of Jingdezhen (Jiangxi). For a month, their paths crossed in Fuping. Both were fascinated by the capacity of the Chinese to produce, reproduce, and multiply shapes and designs, as well as by the materials they used. Both artists have borrowed and used in new ways the materials and techniques they encountered during the different stages of their travels, be it the porcelain of Jingdezhen, the earth of the First Emperor’s soldiers, or the floor paving of the imperial manufacture of Lumu in Suzhou, giving them a contemporary, even conceptual, reading. Jacques Kaufmann was intrigued by the random effects on sancai ware and has endeavoured to control this unpredictable nature so as to create works in which the past is mingled with the present. Mass production, and the unending repetition of the same gestures, have led Philippe Barde to reflect upon the shapes and designs of porcelain ware. These fascinating explorations, these reflections on the know-how and function of objects, be they industrially produced or unique specimens, are a means of renewing the classic expressions of ceramics. The works presented in this exhibition were created either during the artists’ stay made in China, or more recently in France and Switzerland.