The Palace of Green Porcelain at the Breese Little Gallery
The Palace of Green Porcelain is an exhibition of sound and objects, which Dan Scott and Katie Schwab claim “interrogates the relationship between things and humans”. In reality it’s a table’s worth of nice, but deliberately flawed pottery and mostly inaudible ambience.
None of it looks bad by any means: each piece has an interesting blue pattern on it and they have the kinks and imperfections that give some extra character. That said, the kinks and imperfections sometimes feel deliberate. There is perhaps too much of a wobble left on the rim of a bowl, or too exaggerated a kink in the surface of a plate. This leaves the human part of it feeling ironically synthetic. Add to this the fact that, being an art exhibition, it’s not advisable to touch anything. The problem is that texture is so integral to pottery work, especially as the exhibition is based on human-object relations.
The show is said to feature “barely perceived” sound which results fantastically atmospheric. Now, layer London’s background noise, other viewers’ conversations and louder miscellaneous audio over this “barely perceived” one. You quickly realise that it can’t work outside of very brief and specific instances, which are almost certainly going to be few and far between.
Conceptually it’s interesting, but doesn’t look like they’ve thought this through enough. While it’s no fault of the artists or the gallery, London is noisy and it seems that they should have tried to compensate or adjust the sound aspect for the things beyond their control. The visual part is nice to look at in the same way that most tables full of patterned pottery are nice to look at. It’s not bad, but after five minutes you’ll have seen everything, and what’s there isn’t particularly outstanding. Aside from some very weak nods to history, it doesn’t follow up on its promise to “interrogate” anything.
The Palace of Green Porcelain is on at the Breese Little Gallery, from 19th July to 17th August 2013, for further information visit here.