Twomey had been in Kansas City visiting the ceramics department at the Kansas City Art Institute when she had the opportunity to view the Burnap Collection of English ceramics. The collection, 1345 pieces, is the largest outside of England.
One of the things that intrigued Twomey was the permanence of the Burnaps’ gift, “in trust forever.” Which brings to the forefront of our minds the significance of the intent of the gift coupled with the fragility of the pieces themselves.
If you are familiar with Twomey’s work (I was not), you know that several of her exhibits have been interactive. Consciousness/Conscience, above, was an installation involving 7000 hollow cast bone china tiles created to be destroyed.
Trophy included 4000 Wedgwood Jasper Blue clay birds scattered about Clay Courts that were taken by the audience.
And, Blossom was comprised of thousands of fragile ceramic flowers left to decompose out of doors.
Forever, too, allows the audience to interject itself into the exhibit. Twomey will install 1345 scaled-down replicas of an 18th century caudle cup from the Burnap collection at the Nelson. Visitors will have the opportunity to apply for ownership of one of the pieces. Each cup will be unique and numbered and the applicants must choose a specific cup in their requests. It’s interesting to consider the responsibility the owners will have to their cups as the Nelson has had to the Collection. The cups will go home with their new caretakers when the exhibit closes January 2nd.
Top three images courtesy of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art; remaining images courtesy of claretwomey.com.