Jakarta Contemporary Ceramics Biennale #4
“Ways Of Clay: Perspectives toward the future”
For the past three editions, Jakarta Contemporary Ceramics Biennale has been trying to map and place the theme(s) and context(s) of contemporary ceramics. In the spirit of diversity, openness, and expansiveness, JCCB#4 will continue to encourage the involvement of international artists, as well as artists of non-ceramic backgrounds. One of JCCB’s uniqueness is the vast possibility for artist collaborations and residency opportunities in a wide variety of settings—from educational institutions, centers of traditional ceramic production (or ceramic villages), to independent studios, and ceramic factories (industrial-scale ceramic producers). This way, JCCB can help mediate, disseminate, and develop knowledge about ceramic production.
With the theme “Ways of Clay: Perspectives Toward the Future”, JCCB#4 aims to interpret history as a perspective that we can use to understand future ceramic art practices. JCCB doesn’t look at history merely in a scholarly context of ceramic art history as a discipline. Rather, the biennale hopes to look at the history of clay and ceramic media usage within the wider art practice. In other words, clay and ceramics will be placed in a context separate from their categorical boundaries (or burdens). The reality of history demonstrates the fact that clay and ceramic-based media cannot be confined within aesthetic categories as formulated by modern art. Furthermore, clay and ceramic media continue to draw the attention of artists from diverse backgrounds and practice. This historical legacy becomes JCCB’s main motivation to continue to invite the involvement of artists from diverse backgrounds.
“Ways of Clay: Perspectives Toward the Future” tries to understand the connection between the artist’s ideas/concepts and the various ways of [artistic] expressions, where the artist’s individual perspective toward material and media defines or influences his or her creative process and appreciation. “Status” describes the condition and state of ceramic art practice, while also reflecting a political meaning, especially in the context of art history, theory, and discourse.
Interestingly, ceramic art practice has always embodied a paradox on many levels—either as material, media or object. For instance, the ephemeral-permanent paradox of clay and ceramics; the rural-cosmopolitan between ceramic craft and ceramic design; exclusivity vs. mass production between hand- or traditional-craft and industrial products.
These paradoxical instances have positioned ceramic art practice in an unstable position; but they have also afforded ceramic art with flexibility and mobility. Within a continuum, then, these changes and paradoxical instances have become part of the ceramic artist’s awareness. Interestingly, these paradoxes have also allowed ceramic art practice to sustain itself robustly, even becoming part of the art zeitgeist itself.
Today, when art is dominated by digital media, ceramic art practice has, on the one hand, become part of this digital phenomenon by utilizing the various technological possibilities as part of its artistic expression. On the other hand, it has also become the antithesis of the digital world; it is becoming even more recognized as an experiential material. Ceramic art practice has become an experience about materiality, which offers a way back to reality.
Rizki A. Zaelani