The Ceramic House is my home, in Brighton. I have converted it into a showcase of my architectural ceramics practice by cladding many – (most!)- surfaces, inside and out, with tiled installations. It is also a pop-up gallery. Every May, during the Brighton Festival, I open the house to the public and curate exhibitions of international contemporary ceramics within this unique domestic context.

Each year the ambition of the exhibitions has grown. In 2013 The Ceramic House was voted best Artists Open House, and since 2014 I have been curating themed exhibitions, selecting artists from around the world, usually building the exhibition into a bigger project. In 2014 it was part of a Danish exchange project, whereby I made new work in residency in Denmark, invited 14 artists to exhibit at The Ceramic House in Fantastic Tales, and then I took my work back to Denmark to exhibit in the Biennial, European Ceramic Context. See blog link below. In 2015, I curated Dark Light, black and white ceramics from five continents.

This year (2016) it was part of a 14 month long project called Landscape Islands, a collaboration with sound artist Joseph Young exploring the intersection between sound art and ceramic practice. It involved multiple exhibitions and events and the first international residency programme for sound and ceramic artists hosted by The Ceramic House. See blog/film links below.

Made in Korea has been in the planning since 2014, when I met Kyung Won Baek, a young Korean ceramist, on a residency at Guldagergaard International Research Centre in Denmark. Based in South Korea, she has been an invaluable contact, introducing me to artists, curators, academics and ceramic residency centres and helping me to plan everything. Myung Nam An, a Korean artist based in London, exhibited at The Ceramic House in 2012 and introduced me to Sladmore Contemporary in London, who is hosting Made in Korea in July 2017.

The success of the Landscape : Islands residency programme has led us to continue offering residencies at The Ceramic House and, moreover, to continue the investigation between ceramics and sound.

Sixteen Korean ceramic artists have been selected to participate in the exhibition, who are based in South Korea, Switzerland, Germany, USA and UK. Two or three artists will be invited to participate in a residency hosted by The Ceramic House during June. They will be paired up with sound artists, to create new work for an exhibition in the autumn (venue to be confirmed). I have received an AIDF grant from the Arts Council to travel to Korea to research the project and a new body of my own work that will provide the context for Made in Korea.

I have just arrived in Korea! The story continues from here…

Links: http://www.theceramichouse.co.uk

a-n blog Danish-UK ceramic exchange project

a-n blog In A Shetland Landscape, my collaboration with Joseph Young that provided the context for Landscape : Islands

Youtube documentary about Landscape : Islands project, starting in Shetland and tracing journey through exhibitions and residencies

 

 


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While Joseph and I were in Korea, we visited a ceramic fair in Seoul specifically to have a meeting with the Korea Ceramic Foundation, whom I had met at British Ceramics Biennial, as they were responsible for bringing the Korean artists over to work with Neil Brownsword’s Factory project. We thought it would be a good idea to meet up with them to find out about future collaborations, and we had an interesting discussion that may involve being involved in the lead up to the next Gyenoggi Ceramic Biennial (one of the most important ceramic biennials in the world, so that would be a result!). Anyway, we have to wait and see what happens there.

Whilst we were looking around the fair after the meeting, we chanced upon a stand selling Monthly Ceramic Art, the only ceramic magazine published in Korea. Joseph started flicking through it and lo and behold there were pictures of our installations at Spode Works, part of a lengthy feature about British Ceramics Biennial 2017. Very nice surprise! And lucky too, as it transpired the artists we were working with knew about it and had forgotten to mention it.

We are still waiting for the actual magazine to arrive back into my hands as we are currently wrestling with customs (AGAIN!). For anyone who has been following the blog, you may remember I had about 20 boxes from Korea held at customs back in April and only managed to release them through sheer desperation and dedication!

Well this time we shipped one box of tiles back as we were over the weight limit flying over and the check-in attendant was unusually nice and let us off with it. Now we are to-ing and fro-ing with customs trying to convince them that we have not bought the goods, they belong to us, it is artwork for an exhibition and not for sale, etc. Sometimes it is a pain not fitting into any of the boxes and they certainly haven’t thought of an eventuality such as art/exhibitions in their customs forms…. So hopefully we will get them to release them soon as they are now threatening to send it back to Korea!

 


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We are back from 3 weeks in Korea and are delighted how the final leg of the project went. A huge success, judging by the feedback we received!

We arrived with five days to set up the exhibition, install the sounds in the right GPS locations for the Seoul version of our sound app Celadonaphonic and prepare for the opening event/concert scheduled for Saturday 4th November.

Hankil Ryu, our Korean lead sound artist and co-curator of the sound element of the project together with Joseph Young, was an amazingly helpful, resourceful and reliable person throughout his involvement in the project. He was also an excellent host, displaying the typical and lovely qualities of Korean hospitality I have come to admire and know since travelling to Korea to research the project over one year earlier (when I started this blog).

Hankil came to pick us up at the airport and took us to a hotel for the first night as the residency centre did not have space for us until the following day. The first night involved a new Korean culinary experience – we went to an octopus restaurant together with two more sound artists involved in the Mullae Resonance Sound Festival and discovered just how fresh the octopus is. (Vegans avert your eyes.) It was plopped into the broth boiling away on the grill on our table alive, tentacles flailing. I was rather distressed, not expecting such a spectacle. We had a few more culinary adventures, including going to an offal restaurant where everything was written in Korean and there were no pictures of the food (this was just me and Joseph) and ended up being served raw liver and stomach lining, as well as the rest of the innards which we cooked on the barbecue at our table. Highly esteemed by every Korean we met. Might take more than one experience to get used to this.

We were in residence at Mullae Art Factory for the rest of our stay. It’s officially called Seoul Art Space Mullae, and is one of a number of government-run art centres in Seoul. I was impressed with the set up. The top floor is the residence, with 9 rooms that seem to be continually occupied. Artists doing projects in Mullae can stay for free for up to one month and otherwise it is very reasonable, with friendly, helpful staff. Mullae has a fully equipped 200-seater theatre, with various other spaces throughout the building, including a huge ground floor multi-purpose space and the white cube Pocket Gallery which is where we showed our work.

Mullae itself is an area of Seoul which embodies the classic up-and-coming gentrification story of traditional steel-making district meets hipster-artist-trendy, with metal working factories jostling new coffee roasting cafes and galleries squeezed in between. Fascinating, particularly because the metal workers are all tiny, private, sometimes individually-owned factories, all creating a cacophony of noise (which incidentally is all you can hear from many of the artists’ studios and galleries).

Joseph and I set up a new version of the piece we showed at British Ceramics Biennial (BCB). It was very well received. The opening night we had a good number of visitors continually flowing in for two hours before the concert, which featured three of the artists commissioned to make sound works for the sound app Celadonaphonic. Sehee Choi, Hankil Ryu and Joseph Young performed live versions of their works, followed by the premier screening of the documentary film. We also launched the Celadonaphonic app, and duly sent people off to do the trail with the app installed on their phones throughout the rest of our stay there.

The whole event was a huge success. We were part of the British Council’s UK-Korea 2017-18 season, Creative Futures, and were pleased that the British Council team came along to support us. In fact, they were so impressed, they invited us to a meeting at their offices the following week. We also had a meeting with the Korea Ceramic Foundation and I was invited to do a wood firing residency in Korea next year, which would be brilliant, as I am keen to do more wood firing. I met the artist who runs it at BCB, who travelled up from the south of the country especially for our opening. We are also in discussion with Jin Kim and Kyung Won Baek, the two artists who did the Made in Korea residency at The Ceramic House about collaborating on a project in Mullae with them next year.

The exhibition was open every day for 10 days, with people visiting daily, and the following weekend Dotolimpic started. Dotolim is a sound space in Seoul and hosts an international sound art festival every four years (hence Dotolimpic). For the first time, it was combined with Mullae Resonance and Made in Korea to make one big multi-faceted event at Mullae taking place over 10 days. It was a very exciting, buzzy weekend, from Friday night until Sunday night packed with performances that ranged from laptop-based to live instrument new music, from LOUD NOISE to performance art. Fantastic! Joseph, Sehee and Hankil all performed as well as many artists from around the world.

Now we are back in Brighton again and the project has nearly concluded. I squeezed in a mentoring session since arriving back, with a curator who mentored me for the Danish project three years ago. It was extremely useful and well timed to help me think about where to go next from here. Joseph and I have decided to continue to develop the ceramics and sound collaborations in the expansion of The Ceramic House/ In Camera projects. Following the various meetings we had in Seoul it looks very possible that Korea will continue to feature in future projects. We are now following up some of the possibilities we discussed to help shape the next project. We are travelling up to Stoke-on-Trent to collect our work from BCB in a couple of weeks and will be meeting the artistic director to talk about the next BCB in 2019.

Our filmmaker is making some final changes to the film to include some footage from Korea and apart from that we have the evaluation to do for the Arts Council. So, this blog is nearly done. Stay tuned to see the final film…


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We are delighted to announce that the year-long Made in Korea project is reaching its conclusion – in Seoul, when I travelled for a research trip exactly one year ago.

We have been working with renowned sound artist and improvised musician Hankil Ryu to organise this part of the project, which takes place at Mullae Arts Factory in Seoul as part of Resonance Festival.

Mullae Arts Factory, Seoul Arts Space, 30 Mullaedong 1(il)-ga, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul

Exhibition opening: Pocket Gallery, Kay Aplin’s Pavilion (Deconstructed) 4-6pm

Concert/Film Screening, Auditorium 6-7.30 (tickets on the door)

There are four aspects to the concluding events at Mullae.

I will be presenting Pavilion (Deconstructed), a condensed touring version of the larger installation originally created for British Ceramics Biennial 2017 (BCB), which was displayed as part of a three-part installation together with Shadow Workers by the Made in Korea Ceramic House artists in residence, Jin Kim and Kyung Won Baek, and Joseph Young’s 4-channel sound piece Handmade/Automation.

Photos by Joel Chester Files (top) and Sylvain Deleu (bottom) of Pavilion, Spode Works.

Reflecting on my experiences in Korea, Pavilion takes its inspiration from roof tiles that feature on traditional Korean architecture, which form a functional and aesthetic purpose edging the roofs of pavilions. Taken together, the installations evoke a cultural conversation between UK and Korean ceramic traditions through ceramics and sound. Made in Korea is on view until November 5th at Spode Works and worth a visit!

I have been making a new version of Pavilion in my studio since BCB opened, designing new layouts to fit the gallery space and taking into account what I can fit in my luggage! I’ve worked out that I can manage 35kgs of tiles split between our two hold suitcases ( if we are very modest in everything else that we take! Joseph’s sound equipment is negligible of course. Oh to be a sound artist!)

Pavilion (Deconstructed) will be accompanied by Handmade, a two channel sound piece by Joseph Young, which is composed of sound recordings I made while visiting the 10 Seoul-based artists working  in their studios who participated in the Made in Korea exhibitions at The Ceramic House and Sladmore Contemporary. I recorded the sounds of them working in their studios – scraping, thumping, throwing, grinding and using machinery. Handmade is taken from Joseph’s original four-channel sound work at BCB; the other half, Automation, featuring the sounds of industrialised ceramic production in factories in Stoke-on-Trent.

The third aspect of Made in Korea at Mullae is Celadonaphonic. Celadonaphonic is a GPS-triggered sound walk that uses ceramic making processes as its source sounds, and features compositions from six international sound artists and composers, curated by Joseph in partnership with Hankil Ryu. The app was inaugurated at British Ceramics Biennial in Stoke-on-Trent in September and will be launched at Mullae Arts Factory. These is the outside cover of leaflet that will be available.

The mobile app that hosts the soundwalk can be found at echoes.xyz and is available for both iOS and Android. Download the echoes app and search for Celadonaphonic. You can also listen to the sounds directly on the app (without being in situ where the sounds are geographically located). It is recommended to wear a good set of headphones.

Commissioned artists:

Jez riley French dissolves (korea)

Joseph Young Resonating Canals #2

Hankil Ryu Texture Shifting

Young Eun Kim Some Sounds From Kitchenware

Jason Singh Re-Process Process

Sehee Choi Friction

The fourth aspect of the concluding events at Mullae will be the premiere of the Made in Korea Documentary Film directed by Nicki Lang of Tela Films. All of the sound works from Celadonaphonic plus Joseph Young’s Handmade/Automation for BCB form the soundtrack for the film that traces the story and evolution of the project. This will be screened during the inaugural concert for Resonance Festival in the auditorium at Mullae Arts Factory to a sit-down audience. Additionally world-renowned sound artists and musicians are on the bill for the concert, together with three artists playing live versions of their work on Celadonaphonic – Joseph Young, Hankil Ryu and Sehee Choi. Don’t miss what promises to be an interesting and exciting evening!


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One of the exciting and brand-new developments that has taken place as part of the Made in Korea project is the creation of a mobile phone app. This is Joseph Young’s doing so he gets all the credit for this! Joseph has been working with app developer echoes.xyz over the past 18 months on another commission and it has been eye-opening to see what he has achieved with this. He is the digital expert in The Ceramic House team, which, when mixed with my very much hand-made approach to working with clay, is why we think the mix of craft and digital, or more specifically ceramics and sound, is so innovative and pioneering as an ongoing exploration.

Celadonaphonic

Celadonaphonic uncovers the links between sound and ceramic practice through a GPS-triggered sound walk that uses ceramic making processes as its source sounds, and features compositions from six international sound artists and composers, curated by Joseph in partnership with Hankil Ryu. The app was inaugurated at British Ceramics Biennial in Stoke-on-Trent in September and will also be launched at Mullae Arts Factory, Seoul, in November, where the Made in Korea project ends.

The mobile app that hosts the soundwalk can be found at echoes.xyz and is available for both iOS and Android. Download the echoes app and search for Celadonaphonic. You can also listen to the sounds directly on the app (without being in situ where the sounds are geographically located). It is recommended to wear a good set of headphones.

The commissioned artists are listed here with the names of their sound works. All of the sound artists are accomplished in their field, and have taken the ceramics theme on board and come up with astonishing results. For example, Young Eun Kim lives in Los Angeles and has used tableware she brought from Korea to make all the sounds. Jez riley French did a great live performance of his piece ‘dissolves – Korea’ in our space at Spode Works, where he dissolved unfired clay together with his daughter Pheobe riley Law, a budding sound artist. Please listen! All of these sound works form the soundtrack for the documentary film that is currently being made about the project.

 Jez riley French

dissolves (korea)

Joseph Young

Resonating Canals #2

Hankil Ryu

Texture Shifting

Young Eun Kim

Some Sounds From Kitchenware

Jason Singh

Re-Process Process

Sehee Choi

Friction

If you go to Spode Works you can not only hear one of the sound works on Celadonaphonic, you can also experience Joseph’s sound installation in the Made in Korea installation, Handmade Automation.

When I travelled to Korea in October 2016 in receipt of my AIDF Arts Council grant, Joseph lent me a hand-held sound recorder. In visiting the 10 Seoul-based artists who participated in the Made in Korea exhibitions at The Ceramic House and Sladmore Contemporary, I recorded the sounds of them working in their studios – scraping, thumping, throwing, grinding and using machinery. Joseph used these sounds to create one half his sound piece for British Ceramics Biennial, ‘Handmade Automation’ – the ‘Handmade’ half is a two-channel work that emanates from my Korean inspired piece Pavilion. The ‘Automation’ half is composed of sounds recorded in Johnsons Tile Factory, which appropriately emanates from Won and Jin’s Wedgwood-inspired piece Shadow Workers.

BCB is half way through. It continues until 5th November so if you get the chance, it is well worth a visit to Stoke-on-Trent to see the best of British contemporary ceramics. http://www.britishceramicsbiennial.com


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Success!

I am delighted that the opening for British Ceramics Biennial was a wonderful event and our work has been very well received.

The two installations, mine and the Korean artists-in-residence’, sit very well together in parallel conversation. The idea (thanks to Barney Hare-Duke, artistic director of BCB) of slanting the walls they are mounted on, was a stroke of genius, as it very successfully links the two pieces together, both intimately and across the vast space of Spode Works. And indeed, the two pieces are in dialogue, about the ceramic making cultures of the UK (specifically the Potteries) and Korea, the handmade and the industrial, ceramic manufacturing in the studio and factory. Both pieces involve repetitive labour; the Koreans’ piece was made using hand finishing techniques that would have been employed in the Wedgwood factory, which the artists chose to do rather than use a more modern process which would have made the work easier. My tiles always involve repetitive casting or press moulding, and the traditional Korean roof tiles would have been made in the same way. Both pieces involve mass-production (on a small scale!) through hand-made techniques.

Joseph Young’s sound piece, Handmade/Automation, is a four-channel sound work which presents a sonic dialogue between two making cultures featuring field recordings from artists’ studios in Korea and ceramic production lines in Stoke-on-Trent. The sounds of hand-making in the Korean studios emanates from my Pavilion, and the sounds recorded in Johnson Tiles Factory come from the Korean AIRs Wedgwood piece. Joseph has carefully composed the sounds so that you stand in between the two walls and can discern the different sounds beautifully. It is a big success! Well done Joseph! It provides a beautiful, evocative soundtrack that very effectively links all the work.

We are also proud of the mobile audio app, Celadonaphonic. This is a GPS triggered soundwalk that accompanies the installations and is an innovative and ambitious element of the Made in Korea project where the focus is sound and ceramics.

CELADONAPHONIC is a conflation of two words ‘celadon’ – a type of clay used in traditional Korean ceramics and ‘phonic’ meaning of sound.

Curated by Joseph Young, and assisted by his co-curator Hankil Ryu, six sound artists (3 Korean, 3 British) have been commissioned to make new sound works about ceramics – some have used field recordings as the basis of their work, others have evolved more conceptual processes. The works, taken together, explore the nature and practice of two very different making cultures.

The mobile app that hosts the soundwalk can be found at echoes.xyz and is available for both iOS and Android. The locations are six of the BCB sites, starting at Spode Works and continuing to Emma Bridgewater and into the main hub of sites in Hanley: Airspace Gallery, the Potteries Museum, Bethesda Chapel and the Library. The sounds can be listened to remotely, from anywhere, but obviously it is best to do the trail! The sounds will automatically start playing as soon as the area is reached.

The same sounds will be sited in six sites around Mullae, in Seoul, to coincide with the culmination of the project, at Mullae Art Factory in November.

One of the sound artists on the app, Jez riley French, did a wonderful love performance of his piece ‘dissolves’ that is on the app, together with Pheobe riley Law. This took place at the end of the curator’s tour, when Joseph and I presented the project to the group.

Kay Aplin
Pavilion
Glazed porcelain tiles
An installation inspired by roof tiles that feature on traditional Korean architecture

Jin Kim and Kyung Won Baek
Shadow Workers
Porcelain, mirrored acrylic, custom designed wallpaper
An installation inspired by Wedgwood Jasperware with a focus on the female labour force employed in the Potteries

Joseph Young’s

Handmade/Automation

Four-channel sound work

A sonic dialogue between two making cultures featuring field recordings from artists’ studios in Korea and ceramic production lines in Stoke-on-Trent.

The three pieces of work will be exhibited together in the China Hall at Spode Works in Stoke-on-Trent. British Ceramics Biennial continues until 5th November. http://www.britishceramicsbiennial.com

 


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