11 suits of armor, each measuring 1.6 meters tall and made of transparent glazed porcelain, flank the public area of the Provincial building in Leeuwarden. Designed by Hans van Houwelingen in collaboration with Koninklijke Tichelaar Makkum who produced the pieces, the 11 porcelain knights were part of a triptych of works commissioned by The Province of Friesland whose common theme involves the relationship between art and politics at a time when they seem to be moving further and further apart. The project is named Mecenaat Provinsje Fryslãn.
In the public area of the new Provincial building eleven suits of white porcelain armor with closed visors stand proudly on eleven consoles. Stately, conservative, self-assured and fragile, each bears the coat of arms of a Frisian town on its cuirass.
A suit of armor made of porcelain is like Frisian tradition, which preserves the people but at the same time makes them vulnerable. Tradition protects, but is also society's Achilles heel, just as porcelain can last a thousand years or be shattered by a single blow. Koninklijke Tichelaar Makkum produced the numerous components of these suits of armour.
This commission has once again enabled Koninklijke Tichelaar Makkum to showcase its traditional craftsmanship and expertise in ceramics. Hans Van Houwelingen is quoted as saying “I am very impressed by Makkum's craftsmanship.”
above: Hans van Houwelingen inspects an actual suit of armor for inspiration
Creating and producing the pieces:
About Hans van Houwelingen
Hans van Houwelingen (1957) was educated at the Minerva Art Academy in Groningen (Netherlands) and at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam. His work is internationally manifested in the form of interventions in public space, exhibitions, lectures and publications, in which he investigates the relations between art, politics and ideology. He has created various exhibitions and permanent installations in public spaces. He publishes regularly in newspapers and magazines. The monograph Hans Van Houwelingen VS. Public Art: Stiff (Artimo, 2004) offers an overview of his projects and texts and an extensive reflection on his work. The publication update describes the permanent update of the Lorentzmonument in Arnhem (NL) during the exhibition Sonsbeek 2008. Hans van Houwelingen's Undone was published, presenting nine critical reflections on three recent works. Van Houwelingen lives and works in Amsterdam.
images courtesy of Hans van Houwelingen, Koninklijke Tichelaar Makkum and Vormen uit Vuur
Produced by Alex Garnett are two oversized human skulls hand cast in Bone China (a fine porcelain containing bone ash) that function as a pendant lamp and a table lamp.
Goliath Pendant Lamp
A lamp shade created from a giant sized skull in bone china by Alex Garnett .
In the description is says 'This product comes without fittings' however, there is a drop down menu which allows you to choose from American fittings, UK fittings or European Edison fittings.
Easy installation. Weights under 1 kg.
Dimensions (cm): 26 x 17 x 16
Goliath Table Lamp
A lamp shade created from a giant sized skull in bone china by Alex Garnett.
Dimensions (cm): 26 x 17 x 16
The table lamp currently has 3 metres of cable to UK 3 pin plug, bulb not included. Alex can supply cable and American or European Edison lamp holder - without plug (unable to source American/European plugs yet!). Please add note when buying for choice.
Shop for them here.
above: a detail of the porcelain shard LACOSTE shirt by artist Li Xiaofeng
Since 2006, each year the Lacoste brand commissions a designer, design team or artist to create a special Holiday Collector's Series of of their classic L.12.12 polo shirt. Past designers included Tom Dixon (2006), Michael Young (2007), R.E.M frontman Michael Stipe (2008) and The Campana brothers in 2009.
For 2010, Chinese artist Li Xiaofeng, best known for his porcelain fragment sculptures, has created both an outstanding porcelain sculpture of a LACOSTE shirt as well as wearable Holiday Collector's editions of the L.12.12 Polo for men and women.
The Porcelain Polo
The actual porcelain Lacoste Shirt is the most expensive Lacoste Polo to date. The art piece features porcelain shards printed with Chinese characters, symbols, red phoenix birds and variations of the Lacoste alligator and logotype as well as a wax seal.
the artist at work:
above photos by Miko He
The Cotton Polo
Now, for the actual wearable cotton Lacoste 2010 Holiday Collector's Series L.12.12 polo shirts, which will be be produced in a limited number of 20,000.
The men's and women's wearable cotton polo shirts designed for the Holiday Collector's Series for 2010 by Li Xiaofeng features a textile pattern that emulates broken porcelain shards from the Kangxi Period (1662-1722) of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912).
This print represents happiness and exuberant youth according to Li Xiaofeng. Originally the reason for images of babies was to promote the births and good health of children in an era of high infant mortality. Li points out that joy continues exist even in a life that is always faced with difficulties, a life where we must continually reassemble the pieces after setbacks. Li photographed each of the shards and placed them in life-sized digital pattern of each part of the polo.
above left: the Men's limited edition polo shirt and right; the Women's version
special thanks to photographer Miko He, Jing Daily and Nels Frye of Stylites for images and information
Above: Mary Had A Little Lamb
Barnaby Barford is an artist whose produced works you've probably seen on blogs, in design magazines and in the hippest of stores. But as an artist, his ceramic work may not be as familiar to you.
He creates unique narrative pieces using primarily found objects (both mass-manufactured and antique figurines) and turns them into sinister, sardonic and humorous sculptures. Well-known sentimental figurines from companies like Disney, for example, become characters in his twisted narratives, taking on an explicitly vulgar appearance that express some fundamental truths.
Here are a few of his one-off pieces from the collection he calls Private Lives:
Above: She Needs More Than A Makeover
Above: Dear lord, for what we are about to receive make us truely (sic) thankful
Above: French Kiss
Above: J'adore Le Coq D'or
Above: Stick That On You Tube!
Above: That Wasn't In The Script!
As well as creating his one-off pieces, Barford has made projection based installations, worked with prestigious companies including Nymphenburg and has designed products for Thorsten Van Elten.
You may already be familiar with some of these:
Above: Stamp Cups designed with Valeria Miglioli for Thorsten Van Elten.
Above: Solitaire Olive Bowl, O's and X's Ashtray, Battleships Napkins designed with André Klauser for Thorsten Van Elten.
Above: Limited edition set of Global Service (World Plates) in blue or pink, designed for Porzellan Manufaktur Nymphenburg, Münich.
About Barnaby Barford:
Barnaby Barford (b. 1977) graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2002. He has been the subject of several solo exhibitions in the UK, and has shown in major exhibitions in the US and Japan. In 2004 he was named Young Designer of the Year by Wallpaper magazine
His most recent exhibit:
From June 24 to October 15, 2008 the Fondation d’entreprise Bernardaud is hosting an exhibition entitled Petits bouleversements au centre de la table (Minor revolutions at the center of the table).