Studio Ceramics (Victoria and Albert Museum)
A magnificent catalogue of the V&A’s collection of twentieth-century and contemporary British ceramics.
Contemporary ceramicists working in Britain, including Rachel Kneebone, Grayson Perry and Edmund de Waal, are part of a broader international group of artists experimenting with clay, considering how it intersects and works in dialogue with other art forms and with culture at large. Recent experimentation with the medium owes much to the rapid evolution of ceramics into an expanded field, and to the work of mid- to late 20th-century potters and their reinvention of ceramics as a radical and contemporary art practice. The pioneering methods and rethinking of form in the work of exponents such as Bernard Leach, Michael Cardew, Lucie Rie, Hans Coper and Alan Caiger-Smith – whose reference points were drawn from East Asia, Africa, the ancient Mediterranean and the Middle East as much as from their own heritage – continue to influence and inspire contemporary makers. In his introductory essay, Alun Graves, Senior Curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, provides all lovers of ceramics – collectors, practitioners, historians and those interested in modern and contemporary art and crafts – with the historical context, documenting the medium’s shift into an expressive, and sometimes interventionist, art form. An extensive visual catalogue, Studio Ceramics is the primary reference for 20th-century and contemporary British studio ceramics, and a record of the national collection of British ceramics held at the V&A.