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In the run up to their group ceramic exhibition ‘Exquisite Bodies’, we caught up with two of the four featured artists, Meghan Downs and Becca Brown, to talk inspiration, ‘Exquisite Corpse’ and questionable hashtags.
The ‘Exquisite Bodies’ exhibition, which features collaborative live-making alongside a showcase of each artist’s new ceramic work, takes its inspiration from the drawing game ‘Exquisite Corpse’. Though many will know this game by the name ‘Consequences’, the artists decided that the former name, coined by Surrealists in the early 20th Century, reflects their theme better.
“You draw a body part [on a sheet of paper] and leave lines so that people can see where to add on, and then you fold it over and pass it on. At the end you open it out and its some kind of weird creature”, explains Meghan, “And then we’ve changed it to ‘Bodies’ because it’s referencing the clay bodies that we’re using. We’re going to do the same but with clay - we’re going to all start a piece, wrap it up and pass it along.”
However, the artists say that their choice of name has not been without its surprises.
“We did find some questionable hashtags,” Becca laughs.
“Yeah, we’ve had to be a bit careful to call it #exquisitebodiesexhibition and not just exquisite bodies,” agrees Meghan, “My boyfriend took some of our flyers in to work and he spoke to someone and she blushed! She was like ‘What does your girlfriend do?!’. He was like, ‘It’s a ceramic exhibition’ and she said she thought it was some nudist thing!”
Misconstrued meanings aside, the concept for ‘Exquisite Bodies’ originated from a wish to facilitate collaborative making in a fluid and fun way.
“It’s just a way to not be too precious,” says Becca, “Because when you think of the game itself it ends up looking awful, but really fun. The unravelling is the best bit, and I think that’s kind of the appeal.”
The game also gives the four artists an opportunity to experiment with new methods of working with their clay ‘bodies’ and learn from one another.
“I think it’ll be quite nice cause usually we’re used to all working in our own way and working independently,” Becca continues, “But it could end up just as a huge mess!”
For this reason, the artists say that they’re not necessarily committing to firing any of their ‘Exquisite Bodies’ – it’s more of an opportunity to learn, have fun and create an inviting atmosphere in the Gallery that people will return to again and again to see their progress.
“If it gets to the point where we’re like ‘oh we quite like this’ we’ll put it in the kiln and see how it comes out,” Meghan tells us, “But that’s not really what it’s about, it’s really more about playing around with things.”