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Object: Falling through the Antipodes III

This image is All rights reserved. Image © Te Papa

Title Falling through the Antipodes III
Production Parker, Richard (potter), 1991, Kaeo
Medium summary earthenware; white slip with green and red glazes; hand coiled.
Materials ceramic, ceramic glaze
Classification ceramics, studio ceramics, works of art
Technique firing
Dimensions Overall: 865mm (Height) x 400mm (Length) x 400mm (Width/Depth)
Credit line Commissioned 1991, in partnership with Expo NZ 1992 Ltd and the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council of New Zealand<br />Collection of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Registration number 1996-0033-26

I was given the task of paying homage to the clay history of the Expo site and making a site-specific work that was visible over a mezzanine rail from the floor below. I wanted to make the clay fly and develop a life of its own. I was helped by a happy accident. I had a collapse in the kiln of some smaller pots that left them bent. it rendered them fluid and relieved them of their visual weight. They started to point their toes and raise their chins, so I COULD get these pots to dance. As I worked on the project I assembled a rich soup of ideas that moved backwards and forwards through time. The quatrefoil openings on the large tiles were invented as a tidy way of finishing the openings. I am certain that is why the pattern is not just Moorish or Gothic but universal. Anyone who sets out to perfect an idea to the point that the inner self says "that's it, that's far enough' ends up with a classical solution. So many have stopped at the same place. However, these things were not researched. They were arrived at by following what had soaked in. Nothing was carefully designed or plotted, it just came in a slow stream that seemed to have no beginning or no end. The Seville works were all made using Nelson terracotta clay covered with a local white clay slip. On to this surface are brushed and dribbled the bright glaze colours. I perfected the turquoise glaze especially for this show. I then fired the pots in a temporary fibre envelope kiln, as the human-scale creatures I had created were too big for my studio kiln. Richard Parker

'Treasures of the Underworld' Exhibition. New Zealand Pavilion, World Expo, Seville, Spain. 12 April- 20 October 1992

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