Wall installation, 2012/13
When I started working on ABSENCE it was the first time that I used the internet as a medium. Techniques used are research, auction and installation. Industrial produced plates provide as material. I myself got involved by planning and organising the installation (which is very delicate), as well as by arranging the plates on the wall. The site to show ABSENCE is, in correspondence to the ascription, the Wedgwood Memorial Building in Burslem. The subject ABSENCE deals with, is early technology transfer.
Stoke-on-Trent -- located between Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool -- is the origin of ceramic's industry, developed by Joshua Wedgwood in the 18th century. Today, only a fraction of the original factories, which were built up until the 20th century, are still intact. Complete industrial areas, as well as town districts are vacated. Only a few start-up foundations lead the ceramics industry into 21th century. These days, production has been resettled to Asia. The industrial culture that had been developed in England over centuries, has vanished. People, who were born and raised in this area, are forced to seek out new possibilities and opportunities elsewhere. I made it a starting point for my work to bring some of it back into Stoke-on-Trent's difficult situation. Perhaps, a pride in its own history; pride of the invention of a technology that took over Europe, overseas and eventually, the world. A technology that helped develop a culture of people's everyday lives in the 20th century.
I searched the internet for industrial produced creamware plates that originate from European factories, leaving out those from England. The research proved to be tough and tedious, as industrial mass-produced tableware had been mainly used in daily life and, thus, was perceived as worthless. Especially plates that had been used over a long period of time, were either used for all kinds of different purposes or disposed off completely (what was passed on, was porcelain). In consideration of my possibilities, I purchased one plate of each factory. The collection had grown to 63 different items between September 2012 and March 2013. Slowly, the number of plates purchased increases. The backside of each plate reads a factory stamp: from Belgium, Luxemburg, France, Germany, Silesia, Lithuania, Russia, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Romania, Switzerland, Italy, Spain... . That is the side I have chosen to display. It is possible to recognise simultaneously similar and different creamware and glazes at once, as well as the stamps of the producers and some -- often hand-written -- codes of decor. It visualises technical agreements (as moulding), but also differences (e.g. underglaze and faience).
Today, it seems to the observer, who is used to the monotony of postindustrial, globalised bulk production, the viarities of application and local developments of the original technology come up to almost all individual moulding: I transferred the former dreary, ordinary, ugly into a beauty that I urgently desire these days.