Showcase #12: Andrei Davidoff

Andrei Davidoff is a Melbourne-based ceramicist known for his commercial domestic ware and installation based practice. In this new body of work, Davidoff experiments with scale, technique and context.

When: Sat, 5 Nov 2016 – Sun, 29 Jan 2017
Where: Shepparton Art Museum, 70 Welsford St, Shepparton.

The artist has cherry picked forms and iconography from the histories and theories of studio pottery in order to query the nature of assigned value within the discipline. Forms are borrowed from sources such as Korean storage jars and Japanese tea vessels. Surface decoration is gleaned from an array of references, from slip motifs depicting ears of corn from North Carolina, through to instructional drawings from a seminal text by the founder of the English/Japanese pottery tradition - Bernard Leach. A sketch for an anagama Japanese-style kiln on one vase is juxtaposed next to Tarot card illustrations on another: an allusion to both the use value of the ceramic vessel within human history, as well as the symbolism of the suit of cups within the tarot deck.

In addition to these historic references, Davidoff draws on the everyday. Commercially produced ceramics decals featuring icons and signs litter the surfaces in an arbitrary fashion: biohazard signs and atomic icons, skull and cross bones and cassette players–symbols of our urban world.

These elements are conflated with complex tactile surfaces, bubbled and crazed, achieved through experimental production processes and multiple firings (six –seven times). Dripping rivulets of traditional stoneware and commercial earthenware glazes, are combined with smelted beer bottles and finished with gold lustre.

Displayed on a precarious stack of makeshift shelving and borrowed milk crates in place of the museum plinth, Davidoff destabilises traditional exhibition solutions and the inherent value that the plinth and museum context assigns to the ceramic object. Through drawing on the diverse cross-cultural histories of the form and its representation, his work investigates the tension between the objects’ high art cultural value and its social value as a utilitarian object.

Showcase 2016 presents four discrete exhibitions of new work by contemporary ceramicists in the glass display cabinet of SAM’s entry.

Curated in partnership with Bree Claffey of Melbourne based gallery and retailer Mr Kitly, Showcase provides a unique opportunity for collectors and craft lovers to acquire work as all pieces are available for purchase.

Image: Andrei Davidoff, courtesy Mt Kitly.