Jerwood Encounters: The Grantchester Pottery Paints the Stage

Michael Fullerton, Sophie Von Hellermann, Maria Loboda, Anne Low, Dietmar Lutz, Edwin Pickstone, Phil Root, Giles Round, Cally Spooner, Sam Windett

A group exhibition curated by The Grantchester Pottery presenting their associate artists’ work together for the first time.

Founded in 2011, The Grantchester Pottery is a collaboration between artists Giles Round and Phil Root that takes the framework of a decorative arts studio, drawing historical precedent from Roger Fry’s Omega Workshops and Paolozzi/Henderson’s Hammer Prints Ltd. The Grantchester Pottery looks towards the specific history that surrounds the Cambridgeshire village as a historic meeting place for writers, poets, artists & philosophers, whilst at the same time using it as a basis for conceptual departure.

For this exhibition the art works are framed by an adaptable stage set designed by the collective in response to Cally Spooner’s enigmatic stage directions for a three act melodrama. The works are hung and placed across all three galleries to face the same vantage point, an impossible vista for an imagined theatre audience. Three large scale wall murals function as the backdrop to each unfolding scene. Throughout the exhibition, works by individual artists are attributed as such, while the collaboratively produced artworks that comprise the set are accredited to The Grantchester Pottery, eliminating any sense of hierarchy of individual artistic authorship within the group.

As a framework for artistic production The Grantchester Pottery operates as a conceptual structure in which artists and designers can contribute in any medium to a collective output as diverse as its collaborators – including utilitarian ceramics, painting, decorative household items, printed & woven textiles, wallpaper, furniture and hand painted murals. By choosing to work with art forms associated with decoration or use, the work questions the relationship between fine and decorative arts.

Jerwood Encounters are one-off curated exhibitions which provide artists and curators with new exhibition opportunities and the chance to explore issues and territories in the borderlands between the main disciplinary fields of the Jerwood Visual Arts programme. They were first established in 2009.

Installation View- Jerwood Encounters: The Grantchester Pottery paints the stage. Image: Anna Arca