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Re-Apprenticed: Observation. Performed at - Raphael Gallery, Victoria and Albert Museum, London

BROWNSWORD, Neil (2015) Re-Apprenticed: Observation. Performed at - Raphael Gallery, Victoria and Albert Museum, London. [Artefact]

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Abstract or description

The V&A invited Brownsword to develop the site-specific iteration of Re-apprenticed, through a live performance located in their Raphael Gallery. Here he illuminated the haptic knowledge of redundant ceramic industrial craft practices alongside High Renaissance treasures. The performances were part of the V&A’s ‘Potteries’ Friday Late program which celebrated ceramic manufacture in North Staffordshire (2618 visits). https://www.valentineclays.co.uk/news/va-museum-friday-night-late-potteries.

Re-apprenticed comprised of three performances by a china flower maker, copperplate engraver and a plaster modeller by former industry artisans. Brownsword’s disruptive interventions amplified the intimate spaces of hand/tool/material interactions through projected imagery, and larger than domestic scale demonstrations of industry know how. Performances accentuated nuances of touch, material knowledge and timing associated with explicit craft knowledge. Jennifer Zielinska the V&A’s Friday Late Programme Coordinator stated, ‘Re- apprenticed was unlike anything we have done before at Friday Late… It was truly majestic and really very special’ (email 2 Nov 2015).

Item Type: Artefact
Additional Information: Re-Apprenticed examines the complexities of craft and material knowledge retained by a senior generation of ex-artisans from North Staffordshire’s ceramic industry. Deemed outmoded or economically unviable for contemporary ceramic manufacture, there currently exists no apprenticeship system to secure the effective transfer of these skills for the future. The endangered practices of the engraver, flower maker and china painter were the focus of Re-apprenticed, whereby Brownsword archived the transmission and acquisition of knowledge via a direct apprenticeship to these artisans. Through methodologies that intersect experimental archaeology, ethnography and artistic practice, Brownsword’s artistic mediation of what was an intergenerational practice, offered unique insights into ‘hidden’ actions that accrue to meet the demands of each craft. Nuances of embodied knowledge, procedural memory and material preparation, were deconstructed into a range of object and filmic works. Deftness of touch, tool use, pace, timing and repetitive action were made tangible, enabling rare access to each craftsperson’s internalized set of rules and operations. By restaging former artisanal practices, Brownsword also opened up important oral testimony to offer insights into recent transitions in the ceramic industry. These have influenced the critical perspectives of prominent scholars, such as Prof. Ezra Shales writing about marginalised industrial skill in his publication, The Shape of Craft (2018). http://www.reaktionbooks.co.uk/display.asp?ISB=9781780238227 Text from event: 'Re-Apprenticed is a performative installation by artist Neil Brownsword in collaboration with a group of former ceramic industry employees. Through his observation of numerous endangered industrial craft practices, Brownsword attempts to illuminate the hidden sequence of actions that accrue to meet the demands of each skill base. Those including the subtle nuances of material, haptic knowledge, pacing and timing. Come and see the practitioners at work as they master their crafts in this live-factory setting'.
Faculty: School of Creative Arts and Engineering > Art and Design
Event Title: Re-Apprenticed: Factory
Event Location: Raphael, Room 48a, Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Rd, Knightsbridge, London SW7 2RL
Event Dates: 30 October 2015
Depositing User: Neil BROWNSWORD
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2019 13:56
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2019 13:56
URI: http://eprints.staffs.ac.uk/id/eprint/5309

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