Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art wins the inaugural Jackson Tang Ceramics Award, receiving bold new work by Chiara Camoni

21 December 2018 By

The Contemporary Art Society has launched a new fund focussed on ceramics – the Jackson Tang Ceramic Award. Designed to support a major acquisition of ceramic work for a Contemporary Art Society Museum Member, the award is open to artists whose primary material is ceramic as well as those who only employ the process and material occasionally. Applications were invited from both Fine Art and Omega Fund for Craft curators.

Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA) has won the first award with an ambitious proposal to acquire three large-scale pieces from Chiara Camoni’s most recent series Sisters (2017). This will be the first acquisition of Camoni’s work by a UK museum.

Sister 1, Sister 3, and Sister 4 are glazed clay forms each supporting a number of multi-coloured candles. Over time the coloured wax builds up on and around each work as the candles burn down. The works will be on show at MIMA for a month from 8 January 2019, the day after Twelfth Night; this will be Chiara Camoni’s first UK museum presentation. Individuals from the different communities around MIMA are being invited to take the role of lighting the candles each day during the exhibition period.

Chiara Camoni lives and works the hills of Versilia in Tuscany, Italy. Her ceramic practice is intimately embedded in her daily life and has a collaborative aspect that sees friends and relatives invited to assist her in making the work.  Through this extended, communal creation of her sculptural work, Camoni traces connections to the prehistory of object making, objects that would have included tools, vessels and talismans.

Caroline Douglas, Director of the Contemporary Art Society, said: “From our origins in the Bloomsbury Group and the Omega Workshops of Roger Fry, Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell, the Contemporary Art Society has long been associated with philosophical positions that unite the so-called fine and decorative arts.  This new award allows us to acknowledge the intense current interest in ceramics from artists approaching the medium from a variety of differing backgrounds.  MIMA has an outstanding collection of major ceramic works by some of the most important practitioners of our era and we are proud to be able to add to it with Camoni’s charismatic sculptures.”

Elinor Morgan, Senior Curator at MIMA, said: “This beautiful work will be on display in our atrium, a large glass entrance hall that conjoins Middlesbrough’s Centre Square, so that it has maximum public impact and brings light to gloomy January afternoons. As a constituent-led museum, it is integral that people from our various constituent groups and local communities will light the candles, activating the work and creating a special, communal moment. We feel it’s fitting to show the work as a way of marking the new year and making a nod to all of the ancient and modern traditions and rituals around light in the wintertime.”

Chiara Camoni’s Sisters will be on display at MIMA 8 January 2019 – 10 February 2018.