Pioneering Ceramics, Prinsenhof Delft

Pioneering Ceramics, Prinsenhof Delft

Museum Prinsenhof Delft presents the exhibition “Pioneers in Ceramics,” showcasing the timeless nature of the medium. In the early 17th century, the Delft pottery industry entered a golden age lasting over a century and a half, marked by innovation and experimentation. Today, ceramics are experiencing a renaissance; more and more makers are choosing clay and exploring the ancient craft and its significance. “Pioneers in Ceramics” displays masterpieces from the Museum Prinsenhof collection alongside works by 23 contemporary artists, creating an exciting dialogue that offers unique insights. The exhibition provides multiple perspectives and invites visitors to view the past through a contemporary lens. While the material itself has remained the same, the world to which the makers respond has changed dramatically.

Our studio had the honor of designing the exhibition, the graphic layer, and the publication, to create a cohesive whole. As a spatial intervention, we chose to present all the works on a catwalk, serving as a meeting place for the old and the new, displayed side by side. The catwalk guides visitors through the spaces, bringing the works to eye level and allowing for a different perspective on the objects. The platforms are constructed from stacked crates, referencing not only the drying and transporting of the work but also the stacking in the kiln and the creation process.

Each catwalk is painted a different color to correspond with its theme, subtly signaling to visitors when a new topic is being introduced. The wall texts offer general information about the overarching themes, while the table texts provide detailed explanations about the clusters of historical works and contemporary makers. Information about the objects is accompanied by small silhouettes, which also serve as graphic elements throughout the exhibition. By displaying these illustrations large and out of context on the walls, the forms take on an alien and graphic quality. The silhouettes and large titles are applied as glossy foil on the walls, subtly referencing the idea of glaze and ceramics.

For Waanders Publishers and with curator Esther van der Hoorn and guest curator Esther Muñoz Grootveld, we designed the publication that highlights the connections between pioneering makers of the past and present. This reference work reveals the surprising similarities and telling differences, making the dialogue within this ancient, innovative craft so fascinating.

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