Ceramics are at once geologic and squishy and industrial. Hard and soft- the soft that becomes hard, and soft again. The chemistry is its own beautiful puzzle. 135 Stones on 135 Shelves on One Table is a nod to Wallace Stevens’ Metaphors of Magnifico. Certain types of knowing come from doing.
135 Stones on 135 Shelves on One Table is the “doing,” aimed at understanding the Western replication of Eastern porcelain. There is almost no clay content in the porcelain stones. They are fluxed silica— in some ways a processed and elevated beach sand. They are poorly or unconvincingly assembled on a pierced ceramic cylinder— which in itself is a conflicted object. The pierced cylinder holds these stones, unsecured. The stones, in turn, rest on the cylinder.
I conceptualize these works as unconvincing porcelain replications. The porcelain stones suggest that they could fully become the cylinder— they do not. They suggest that they could hold their own as façade— they do not. The porcelain stones and the pierced cylinders stand as an attempt at the porcelain ideal.
Through all the energy and input in formulating the material, troubleshooting, making, remaking, and scaling up the cylinders— the original project of making a porcelain stone cylinder, one that understands the history and appropriation of porcelain, might not matter as much as living with and appreciating the efforts in the process.