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Total Collapse: Clay in the Contemporary Past

L Gallery
September 26 - December 13, 2019 


Total Collapse: Clay in the Contemporary Past presents a group of artists/collaboratives who present diverse and experimental developments in the field of contemporary ceramics.

Organized around ideas exploring the function of the ceramic object as an anthropological devise and early human technology, the exhibit features work in sculpture, performance, and site-specific installation. The exhibition further examines the value of the ceramic object, as an artifact with sociopolitical potential, but also puts into question the role of contemporary mass-produced ceramic objects and their impact on future histories.

In a post-consumer and post-global digital world, the value and impact of the everyday object is actively challenged and in flux. In a historic and anthropological context, everyday ceramic objects have been valued for their potential to withstand time and deterioration and in turn provide information about antiquity. However, in our contemporary reality we are constantly surrounded by ceramic objects, from dinnerware, toilets, tiles, electrical components, and mechanical automotive parts; these mass-produced objects fueled by capitalism can enrich our lives but also challenge our future livelihood.

The artists presented showcase a variety of practices that are pushing the limits of the ceramic object and are not only propelling contemporary movements in the field but also challenging their own position as artists and makers in today’s societies. From observing and questioning the mass production of goods, the racial or cultural complexities of artifacts, and the implications brought by making, this exhibition aims to explore questions that illuminate our relation as humans to clay and our cultural and historic impact through ceramic objects.

Total Collapse is guest curated by Andres Payan-Estrada and co-organized by the ASU Art Museum.

Artists: Ane Fabricious Christiansen, Armando Cortez, Kahlil Irving, Gala Porras, Daniel L Bare, Michael Jones McKean, Kristen Morgin, Unknown Fields Division.