Theaster Gates: A Clay Sermon




The exhibition at Whitechapel Gallery will begin with a survey of the Theaster Gates’s clay works – from examples of his early ceramic production to ‘Afro-Mingei’ sculptures and large vessels – alongside examples by those who have shaped Gates’s approach to clay. They include David Drake, an enslaved African American potter who worked on a plantation in South Carolina. Drake wrote poems and signed his stoneware pots when literacy among enslaved people was outlawed. The exhibition also includes potters who exchanged traditions from different cultural contexts, such as Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada, who established the influential Leach Pottery in St Ives, Cornwall in 1920, and Ruth Duckworth, who fled the Nazi regime, studied in the UK and made her mark with monumental stoneware murals in Chicago. Working in partnership with the V&A and drawing from other public and private collections, Gates has selected a number of historic objects for his Whitechapel Gallery exhibition that speak to the significance of ceramics in global trade, colonial expansion, slavery and abolitionism in the UK.

Theaster Gates: A Clay Sermon further includes a new film by Gates and his most recent body of work: large stoneware vessels installed on custom-made plinths of hand-milled wood and stone. Their forms derive from a range of sources, including African sculpture, the human body and industrial and utilitarian objects.

This is part of a multi-venue presentation dedicated to Theaster Gates clay practice for 2021-22 alongside the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) and Serpentine.

Duration 29 September 2021 - 09 January 2022
Times Tuesday – Sunday, 11am – 6pm; First Thursdays, 11am – 9pm
Cost Free
Venue Whitechapel Gallery
Address 77-82 Whitechapel High Street, London, E1 7QX
Contact / info@whitechapelgallery.org / www.whitechapelgallery.org

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