People from the Porcelain Factory

Exhibition

Smooth, shining porcelain evokes cleanliness and perfection. When fingers or lips have left a trace on a cup, we feel an almost compulsory need to wipe it off, eliminate, recover the perfection, conceal the evidence of contact with the imperfect human body. We do not want to know if and how many times a cup has been touched before.

Wednesday 16 January, 6:00 pm — Thursday 28 February 2019, 6:00 pm

Galeria Platan

Budapest, VI. Andrássy út 32.

Smooth, shining porcelain evokes cleanliness and perfection. When fingers or lips have left a trace on a cup, we feel an almost compulsory need to wipe it off, eliminate, recover the perfection, conceal the evidence of contact with the imperfect human body. We do not want to know if and how many times a cup has been touched before.

“The Human Trace” tableware set was produced on a factory production line by workers wearing gloves whose fingertips were dipped in cobalt salts. The traces of their touch remain almost invisible until firing, when they appear on the porcelain body, as the cobalt turns dark blue. In this way the porcelain tableware keeps the touch of the workers’ hands, revealing the role of the “human factor” in industrial manufacturing. The set is the result of the cooperation of the anthropologist and the ceramist, accompanying the research on various types of knowledge used at work in the factory and on the methods of assessing the value of this work.

The set has been manufactured as a part of the project “People from the porcelain factory”, carried out in one of the oldest ceramic factories in Poland. The factory in Ćmielów, established in 1790, has been active in fine porcelain production since 1838 and is currently owned by Polskie Fabryki Porcelany Ćmielów i Chodzież S.A. The project was financed by the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education within the framework of the National Programme of Development in Humanities.

The exhibition was created on the initiative of, and in cooperation with the Adam Mickiewicz Institute. It was presented successfully at the Design March in Iceland (2016), Designblok in the Czech Republic (2017) and during the Triennial Ceramics UNICUM 2018 at the Slovenian Ethnographic Museum in Ljubljana.

Curators: Ewa Klekot, Arkadiusz Szwed
Production: Monika Brauntsch
Visual identification: Bartosz Grześkowiak
Exhibition design: Jarek Hulbój
Photos by: Arkadiusz Szwed
Video: Michał Reich

Opening: 16. 01. 2019, Wednesday, 6 p. m., Platan Gallery
Opening speech by Kitti Mayer, design theorist