I’ve been looking at William Kentridge’s way of working. His work always seems to have significance. There are a number of excellent interviews where he talks about his approach. In one he explains: “the films don’t have a meaning which then gets drawn, the films come out of a need to make an image, an impulse to make a film, and the meaning emerges over the months of making the film”. His lodestones are provisionality and uncertainty : “uncertainty is an essential character… it’s much closer to how the world really is”. He draws analogy between the nature of a human being and a collage, something composed of quite disparate elements that gives an appearance of coherence. There’s a fragility in making sense of the world.
His advice is to be open to recognise what arrives by chance at the edges, let this flower in the studio, don’t storyboard, and hang on to provisionality and uncertainty for as long as possible. Which I’m trying on for size.
Porcelain clay generally includes kaolin and is characterised by small particle size, high firing temperature, high fired strengthened and whiteness when fired. The word porcelain is probably derived from the Italian porcellana, a cowrie shell, due to the surface similarities. Original Chinese formulae for porcelain date back to at least the Tang dynasty (618-907 AD). A long and unhappy history of European attempts to reverse engineer the material were finally resolved in Meissen, Germany in the early 18th century.
I’ve been seeing how porcelain responds to extrusion, and testing the fragility limits of the fired material – which provided me with a source of fractured elements to allow chance to happen at the edges.
Hence these drawings with porcelain.