‘The Precious Clay’

  • 16 September 2018

The Precious Clay

Porcelain in Contemporary Art

20 September 2018 to 20 March 2019

Museum of Royal Worcester


Meadow Arts and the Museum of Royal Worcester present an exhibition exploring contemporary art and porcelain, The Precious Clay. The exhibition will examine why and how artists choose to use this legendary material in their practice. With its origins in the Far East and a long global history, porcelain holds rich associations of preciousness, mutability and exoticism: the artists’ work responds to these associations in lively and inventive ways.

With new commissions by Laura White and Emily Speed shown alongside work by artists including Annie Attridge, Barnaby Barford, Bouke de Vries, Céline Berger, Christine Borland, Clare Twomey, Edmund de Waal, Edward Chell, Fernando Casasempere, Jessica Harrison, Leonora Lockhart, Livia Marin, Matteo Nasini, Mona Hatoum, Neil Brownsword, Rachel Kneebone and Rosa Nguyen, plus a special interactive project by Storymine, the exhibition is an opportunity to see the museum’s newly displayed world-class collection through the eyes and imaginations of contemporary artists.

Porcelain is a complex substance that requires skill, practice and an intimate making process. Laura White’s newly commissioned piece will explore this physicality, through a collection of porcelain objects that occupy and explore their own materiality – exposing the elemental material behaviour of this extraordinary ‘white matter’. Meanwhile, Emily Speed will be responding to the museum’s globally important collections to create a performance artwork, Hollowware, drawing in the connections to the waterways that supplied materials and distribution networks for the Museum of Royal Worcester factory. Speed’s work is being produced for The Ring, a Canal & River Trust ‘Arts on the Waterways’ project in 2018.

The exhibition will unfold throughout the museum, introducing contemporary work into the displays where the newly renovated Museum’s collection is presented, as well as in the special exhibitions room.


In addition, work from Laura White’s, Esque collection will be exhibited in the evocative setting of the Dean’s Chapel of Worcester Cathedral in January 2019 and there will be exciting workshops, including an opportunity for local groups and visitors to help create a collaborative artwork that will form part of The Precious Clay exhibition. The programme will also include a symposium bringing together academics and artists for a day of discussion and learning.

20 Sept 2018 – 20 Mar 2019: Museum of Royal Worcester

Severn St, Worcester WR1 2ND

 8 January to 10 February 2019: Worcester Cathedral

8 College Yard Worcester WR1 2LA

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