Marcelle Joseph Projects is pleased to present Cassius Clay, an exhibition of ceramic work made by an international selection of artists who bring a criticality to the history and materiality of ceramics with their varied practices.
'The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses - behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.' Muhammad Ali
Not unlike Cassius Clay, these artists play dirty, challenging the limits of the material of clay in the making stage of their artworks. These battles with materiality are won in the studio not the exhibition space. For this exhibition, the sculptures are presented on the floor, on custom-made tables and on the wall, removing any analogy to the traditional craft heritage of clay and allowing the objects to either "dance under the lights" or brawl with each other.
Mark Essen's ceramic handbags and other objects in the show explore the capricious whims of popular culture and social idealism, aiming to give new meaning to the obsolete and highlight the gulf between function and non-function. Coco Crampton's new hand-thrown ceramic works attached to digital prints as well as upholstered denim are perfectly poised on the boundary between tradition and modernity and explore her continued interest in materials and processes. Riffing on the Readymade and infused with a throwback sense of humour, Matthias Merkel Hess's work consists of a diverse collection of ceramic replicas of disposable and downmarket food containers (such as a plastic milk crate or a travel coffee mug) as well as dated memory objects (such as an Original Mr. Coffee machine or a 1950s Oster Beehive Blender) that shift with their subtle shape differentiation and their improbable colours, some shiny and drippy and others matte and chalky.