Bonne Kemske quote: “The new figurine, however, has a different message…”

“The new figurine, however, has a different message than its antecedents’. There is still narrative, but it is less likely to be about worship, mythology, or pastoral or social gatherings, and more likely to be about the artists themselves or social or political commentary. Just as the willow pattern has presented a tidy and accessible motif for those working on flatware to comment on contemporary issues, so the figurine has supplied artists with a ready trope on which to load social criticism. For instance, in his intervention at the BirminghamMuseumsand ArtGalleryentitled Queering the Museum Matt Smith challenged historical conventions about sexuality. Civil Partnership Figure Group features a Meissen-like sculpture of two men in a wedding pose. The Ladies of Llangollen celebrates the relationship of Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby, who lived together openly in Wales and entertained guests such as the Duke of Wellington and William Wordsworth. These works use the traditional figurine to make a positive statement about today’s world, reinforcing our contemporary position on sexual orientation and identity” (31 – 32).
Kemske, Bonne. “From Cynics to Celebrants.” Ceramic Review, Issue 254, March/April, 2012, pg 30 – 35.

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