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Richard Slee at the V&A

June 28, 2010

 

FROM UTILITY TO FUTILITY

 

5 June - 3 April 2011

 

Richard Slee (born 1946) has worked in ceramics for 30 years and, though his work is not defined by that one medium, he admits to having 'a craftsman's mentality to the point of obsession'. In this exhibition he presents the best of both craft and fine art worlds: on the one hand meticulously crafted objects, predominantly ceramic, that celebrate the act of making; on the other hand, the immersive experience of a fine art installation.

 

Slee has made nine new works specifically for the gallery's fixed display cases. He sees these as integral to his artwork in that they provide sympathetic environments for his 'landscapes' of objects.

 

The artist's ironic title, 'From Utility to Futility' is open to multiple readings. On one level it refers to objects that have been denied functional purpose, while on another, it explores the decline of male DIY and making by hand, and the shift in the crafts from items of everyday utility to autonomous art objects.

 

The exhibition has been curated by Amanda Fielding, Camberwell College of Arts / V&A Research Fellow in Craft.