We are delighted to announce the exhibition of new work by artist Jonny Briggs at the V&A Wedgwood Collection, the museum of Wedgwood’s design history and creative future located in the Potteries.
In 2021 GRAIN commissioned Jonny to create new work in response to the Wedgwood collection. The two new diptychs go on display at Wedgwood, Barlaston, from Wednesday 7th June 2023.
The works are made up of multiple photographs masquerading as single, fractured artworks. The artist is interacting with images of stripes, within the mouth and along the fault lines of the fractures. The shape of the cracks are symmetrical and yet the fragments are not. Mirroring, splitting and the blurred boundary between self and other frequently reoccur in the artist’s practice.
In his research and collaboration Jonny connected with the black and white stripes of Wedgwood, thinking of the dazzle as a form of hiding and referencing his queer experience of sometimes feeling safe to show his identity and other times needing to hide. The fractures in the artwork introduce ambiguity and disorder, they celebrate imperfection, and are staged accidents to disrupt the precision and perfection of Wedgwood. They were inspired by the large bags of misshapes disgarded in production and seen in the factory.
Josiah Wedgwood utilised ceramics to amplify his voice and to achieve social change. Terms used for the physical form of a vase include neck, ‘the neck of a vase’ and mouth, ‘the mouth of a vase’. The artist explores the oral significance of the objects in the collection and the mouth as a site for both eating and the voice. He highlights the importance of having a voice within Wedgwood’s work.
The frames are made of photographic prints, mounted on to aluminium, within wooden frame, masquerading as fractured ceramic. These materials are ambiguous.
The artist worked with the students of Portland School & Specialist College, Stoke on Trent, during the latter stages of the project to share his ideas and inspire creativity.
Commissioned by GRAIN Projects and supported by Arts Council England.
Jonny Briggs is a multidisciplinary artist best known for his idiosyncratic brand of highly autobiographical, self-psychoanalytical and yet universally relatable photography, whose arresting, hybridised, multi-media creations operate in the interstices between fact and fiction. Jonny has been awarded numerous significant prizes and opportunities, has exhibited nationally and internationally and his work is in numerous international private and public collections.
Please visit www.worldofwedgwood.com for opening times and details.
Image Credit: Gag 1 (artist’s mouth gripping stripes), 2023, Jonny Briggs