In recent times, museums have been filled with everyday objects turned into works of art. Without abandoning their origin and their still handmade technique, the pieces have been adapted to current trends to carve out a niche for themselves among contemporary art collections. Trangressions, the new exhibition at the Museu del Disseny de Barcelona, fulfills all these characteristics and, in addition, adds to the revival of an art that has always been present in our lives: that of ceramics.
Trangressions, which can be seen until August 28, exhibits 91 new ceramic creations that are incorporated into those already existing in the museum's permanent collection. "Ceramics suits, it responds to the objectives, it is an object to live with", says Pilar Vélez, director of the Museu del Disseny, who also affirms that this discipline "has an important presence in the centre's collections".
The exhibition includes pieces by up to 50 contemporary potters that allow "following the development of artistic creation throughout the 20th century", explains Isabel Fernández del Moral, curator of the exhibition and ceramics curator at the Museu del Disseny. Thus, the intention is that "the citizen can capture what is being done in this art today."
Madola, María Oriza, Xavier Toubes, Ángel Garraza, Sophie Aguilera, Maria Bofill, Yukiko Kitahara or Roger Coll are some of the leading artists of Transgressions. All of them demonstrate that ceramics is "one more expression of contemporary art, a great step that was made around 1800", declares Vélez.
But the Museu del Disseny's commitment to vindicate the artistic nature of these objects also involves "updating the collection", which is why, in addition to having experts in the field for this, many of the works in the exhibition give off a criticize and reflect on current issues.
The very name of the exhibition responds to the fact that transgression is the common denominator between the three areas into which it is divided. On the one hand, it is about "transgressing the knowledge of the master, of tradition", according to del Moral, where potters seek a "controlled imperfection". Later, the works in the exhibition already "transgress all ceramic regulations", such as that E pluribus unum II by Matilde Grau, a gigantic porcelain plate made up of many broken ones. Or Porta sud d'Europa by Ramon Fort, in a completely vindictive sense.
Two of the artists who embody this questioning of traditional ceramic art are Maria Bofill and Barbaformosa, both of whom died in 2021 and to whom the Museu del Disseny wanted to pay tribute by exhibiting some of their works. The first is characterized by creating "elements of purity with curious shapes", in the words of the curator of Transgressions, while the second used to devise "perfect ceramics" and deform them at will.
Likewise, the sample also collects some recent incursions of ceramics in the world of design. This is the case of Caixa fragil by Katsue Kosum and David Vergés, an original piece of crockery for chef Jordi Cruz's "ABaC" restaurant, or new proposals for the unmistakable traditional Catalan hydraulic tile. In the field of architecture, creations by the Ceràmica Cumella company are on display, such as some decorations from the Teatre Lliure or the reproduction of the Pantone palette for the iconic roof of the Santa Caterina market.