The Multiple Store has just launched a new edition ‘Baby’s got the Wedgwood Blues’ by Corinne Felgate and the artist talks to us here about this edition, her art practice, her interest in British Industrial Heritage and her upcoming projects.
Corinne Felgate’s practice examines our relationship to luxury, power, failure, sexuality and industry through the exploration of everyday objects. Her work has been commissioned by numerous organisations including ArtsAdmin; Tate Modern, Maison de la Culture, Amiens; The National Gallery and The British Ceramics Biennial, and she has exhibited/performed with institutions including David Roberts Art Foundation (London) Oriel Sycharth (Wales), Palazzo Grassi (Italy) and Inhotim (Brazil).
Question – When The Multiple Store approached you about creating an edition, what led you to ‘Baby’s got the Wedgwood Blues’?
Corinne Felgate – When Nick [Sharp, Director of The Multiple Store] and I first met, we talked a lot about the surreal-ness of the domestic collection, and the particularly British notion of creating the bookshelf or side board gallery. It occurred to me that The Multiple Store occupies this really interesting space between the commercial and the domestic, the gallery and the home. These were ideas that I really wanted to work with for the commission, and to me Wedgwood was the ultimate pioneer of collapsing the functional and the ornamental, which formed the starting point for the work to develop more organically.
Q – What do you find appealing about the concept of an edition vs. a unique artwork?
CF – As an artist who responds directly to the context or sites where the work will ultimately appear, I’m drawn to how the notion of the edition adds an extra layer of the meaning of the work. In the case of ‘Baby’s got the Wedgwood Blues’, I wanted to play on Wedgwood’s re-creation of the Portland Vase (also produced in an edition size of 30) which was created after an obsessive two year period of experimentation. The vases were shown all over the world in specially created galleries at the back of ceramic showrooms and were highly covetable due to the edition size. I like how this is both paralleled and parodied through my edition and The Multiple Store. Also on a practical scale, my works tend to be large scale immersive installations these days, and I like the democracy of creating an equal number of smaller objects that can be owned by a number of collectors; it’s an artwork that then belongs to a collective of 30 people rather than just a single exclusive individual.
Q – How does this edition relate to your previous work?
CF – On a conceptual level my work looks at our cultural, & physiological relationship to making & industry in the digital age, how as individuals we have less and less to do with the fabrication of the material world and my belief that this lack of physical engagement affects, or shall we say distorts the way we understand it. Like most of Stoke-on-Trent’s heritage potteries, Wedgwood’s recent history has been tumultuous to say the least, with its future less certain than it ever has been, I really wanted to create a work that could mark this unique tipping point in time. The Wedgwood brand has always been synonymous with status and luxury, themes that many of my work explore and indeed often deconstruct. With ‘Baby’s got the Wedgwood Blues’ the idea of luxury is undercut through the “shonky” finish of the objects, their imperfection draws our attention to the labour entailed in producing these familiar domestic items; they become more human because of it.
In a physical sense the edition continues my interest in pushing materials and distorting industrial processes, forcing materials like ceramic and flock together that are at once awkward and happy bedfellows. The fabrication of the edition is also very much in line with how I usually make my works, rekindling or reworking pre-industrial processes, and setting up low-fi production systems.