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The Flames: The Age of Ceramics

Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris


Gathering over 350 pieces dating from the Neolithic to the present day, the exhibition The Flames: The Age of Ceramics is an immersive exploration of the medium, a fresh, fruitful dialogue between objects from different periods and contexts that brings to light influences as well as coincidences.


An inexhaustible source of inspiration and expression for craftsmen, artists and designers, ceramics – from the Greek keramos, meaning "clay" – is one of humanity's earliest cultural manifestations, used since prehistoric times to make idols, constructions and food containers.


The exhibition presents ceramics by modern and contemporary artists and ceramicists, among them Jean Carriès, Georg Ohr, Paul Gauguin, Shoji Hamada, Bernard Leach, Marcel Duchamp, Meret Oppenheim, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Raoul Dufy, Lucio Fontana, Beatrice Wood, Ken Price, Ron Nagle, Cindy Sherman, Judy Chicago, Miquel Barceló, Jean Girel, Simone Leigh, Daniel Dewar & Grégory Gicquel, Theaster Gates, Rebecca Warren, Mai Thu Perret, Clare Twomey, Takuro Kuwata, Natsuko Uchino; historical works by Bernard Palissy, Marie Talbot, Dave the Potter and reknown ceramic manufactories; anonymous pieces such as prehistoric Venus figures, ancient Greek vases, and vernacular pottery; and non-European items including Nok pottery, Mochica jars, Tang figures, Iranian reticuled piece and Japanese raku wares.


The exhibition's transhistorical approach focuses on ceramics as inherently related to art and, more broadly, to humankind. Long underestimated  among the arts, the medium can be both functional and sculptural, and as such compels us to rethink existing categories and traditional hierarchies. In its mingling of art, craft and design, The Flames explores not only ceramics' relationship to the decorative, the culinary and the performative, but also its scope of application in the fields of medicine, aeronautics and ecology.


The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue gathering texts by specialists and artists; an international symposium on the theme Ceramics and Politics, jointly organised by the Society of Friends of the Sèvres National Museum and the Paris Museum of Decorative Arts, at the National Institute of Art History (INHA) in Paris in January 2022; a participative collecting project;  a program of workshops and demonstrations; and a pedagogical mobile and miniaturized version of the show for people unable to attend.



From 15 October 2021 to 06 February 2022


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