An Idea Needing to Be Made: Contemporary Ceramics

Pippin Drysdale, Splendour at Black Rock, East Kimberley, 2018-19 (detail)Exploring the idea of the vessel form and its continued use and reinvention by contemporary artists working in clay, Heide Museum of Modern Art will present the work of twelve leading international and local artists in An Idea Needing to Be Made: Contemporary Ceramics on display from 27 July 2019.

The exhibition brings together a number of key influencers in contemporary ceramics from across Europe, America, Asia, New Zealand and Australia including: Alison Britton (UK), Kathy Butterly (US), Kirsten Coelho (AUS), Pippin Drysdale (AUS), Ernebella Arts (AUS), Simone Fraser (AUS), Gwyn Hanssen Pigott (AUS), King Houndekpinkou (FRA), Nicolette Johnson (AUS), Kate Malone (UK), Kang Hyo Lee (KOR) and Laurie Steer (NZ).

“The invited artists – a number of whom have made new work to display – contribute to the lineage and future for this most ubiquitous of objects, and share ideas across cultures,” says Heide Museum of Modern Art Artistic Director Lesley Harding. “The exhibition is not intended to be a survey of any kind, but rather to show a series of touchstones that represent a range of contemporary approaches to the age old form of the vessel.”

An Idea Needing to Be Made: Contemporary Ceramics is foregrounded historically by the work of Australia’s most celebrated potter Gwyn Hanssen Pigott, whose interest in and interrogation of the vessel and the still life tradition ushered in a new way of thinking about function, display and purpose.

In the exhibition each artist uses the format of Hanssen Piggott’s internationally renowned still-life groups of porcelain vessels to reimagine the vessel form and explore original techniques. It positions the artists to investigate one or more of the enquiries and ideas posed by Hanssen Pigott; including how a vessel can function as something to be used but also be about use; how an artwork can be understood as a collection or suite of objects; and why is the past an eternal present in ceramic practice?

An Idea Needing to be Made offers an opportunity to see a substantial group of works by some of the key influencers in contemporary ceramics,” says Co-curator Glenn Barkley. “All interrogate the timeless potential of the medium and the vitality of the vessel form.”

“Acknowledging the increased interest in ceramics across the art world, this exhibition provides a chance to see some of the most inventive practitioners at work today from across the globe alongside their Australian peers, creating an international dialogue for this once marginalised medium.”

An Idea Needing to Be Made: Contemporary Ceramics
Heide Museum of Modern Art, 7 Templestowe Road, Bulleen
Exhibition: 27 July – 20 October 2019
Entry fees apply

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Pippin Drysdale, Splendour at Black Rock, East Kimberley, 2018-19 (detail), porcelain – courtesy of the artist and Adrian Sassoon, London, Joanna Bird, London, Sabbia Gallery, Sydney and Mobilia Gallery, Cambridge MA – photo by Robert Frith – acorn photo