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Martin Poppelwell

Set for discussion

Study for strip looks like a dinner set on display, but it challenges conventional ideas of the dinner service. Among the usual pieces – plates, bowls, jugs – are shards, swans, eyeballs, and skulls. Markings and colloquial messages are scrawled across some pieces, and others are broken or flawed.

'Strip' refers to a disputed physical zone, like the Gaza Strip. So the dinner set becomes a metaphor for debate. Does art have a role in political discussion? What is the role of text in art? What is the relationship between the object and its decoration?

Poppelwell, potter and visual artist, investigates language, design, and the role of art through the format of domestic pottery. He occupies an important position in contemporary ceramics in New Zealand.

This text was prepared for the Collecting Contemporary exhibition, June 2011.

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