Recent Acquisition of ‘Production Line, 2015’ Breaks Boundaries in Conventional Museum Collecting

9 March 2015 By

Southampton City Art Gallery, York Art Gallery and Shipley Art Gallery, each known for their outstanding ceramic collections, have acquired a major new work by Phoebe Cummings through the Contemporary Art Society’s Craft scheme. The work, Production Line (2015), grapples with the temporary nature of clay and the choreography of a material in transit.

The acquisition of Production Line breaks boundaries in conventional museum collecting. In contrast to previous acquisitions, the work is ephemeral, almost a performance, and will only exist in all three collections as an archive which includes time-lapse photography and film.

Made directly into the gallery space of Southampton City Art Gallery, Phoebe Cummings has orchestrated a construction of clay, building an abstract form directly onto a rope and then hoisting it as it is made. Cummings references the history of ceramics using the traditional and labour intensive technique of pressing clay through a tea strainer, originally used to create the effect of grass or fur.

Production Line reveals the possibilities behind the production of sculpture and acknowledges that this doesn’t have to be fixed or permanent. The artist communicates this concept with the decision to recycle the work when the exhibition finishes on 18 April, dissolving the sculpture and re-claiming the clay. After this date, Production Line will only remain as archive material.

Phoebe Cummings is based in Stafford.  She works without a permanent studio space, creating detailed installations and sculptures directly on site.  She has undertaken a number of residencies, exhibitions and commissions in the U.K, U.S.A and Greenland, including six months as ceramics artist-in- residence at the Victoria & Albert Museum, 2010, a fellowship at Camden Arts Centre 2012/13 and a solo exhibition at the University of Hawaii Art Gallery, Honolulu.  In 2011 she was the winner of the British Ceramics Biennial Award.

Southampton City Art Gallery, Civic Centre Road, Southampton SO14 7LP.
Open Monday – Friday 10.00 to 15.00, Saturday 10.00 to 17.00.
Exhibition continues until 18th April 2015, Admission: Free