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Craft

Craft Case: Matt Smith

updated
February 22, 2021
Published on:
February 28, 2019
January 5, 2021

Crafts Case: Matt Smith

Matt Smith is building a growing reputation for his work as a ceramicist and curator, following a successful start to 2018.

In Februrary, Smith, who studied ceramics at Westminster University, won the Object of the Fair Award at Collect 2018, the high profile international craft event.

The prize was awarded for the witty work, 'Eggheaded Boy', part of the Wunderkammer series by Smith, who was represented at Collect by UK gallerist Cynthia Corbett.

Collect 2018 Matt Smith
(Above: Cynthia Corbett, Matt Smith and Ekow Eshun at Collect 2018. Credit: Crafts Council)

The judges praised Smith's work as "fresh and uncompromisingly contemporary", and for marrying a technical mastery with a playful sensibility. In the project, Smith integrates new subversive and comical forms with white Parian and found ceramics.

The work follows the acclaimed Collect 2017 installation by Smith, who rose to prominence when he won the Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize in 2014.  Among other career highlights, Smith is also a former artist in residence at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Smith combines his art with curatorial work. Exploring themes of mass production, celebrity, colonialism and notions of history, he curated the exhbition, 'Matt Smith's Flux: Parian Unpacked', which opened at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge in March.

The installation features over 100 sculptural Parian busts from the Glynn collection. Highlighting previously widely-celebrated 19th century figures, Smith's approach was designed to challenge the traditional reading of these figures and their achievements.

Parian is a fine, unglazed porcelain resembling marble. It is an unstable material, and the unpredictability of it provides a platform from which we can examine our changing views of history and our changing opinions of those individuals depicted. New work in Parian made by Smith was also displayed in the Museum's galleries, challenging us to look at the permanent collection in a new light.

Smith has also been a Professor of Craft, specialising in Ceramics and Glass, at the Konstfack University of the Arts in Stockholm. He talks regularly internationally about his practice including at the Valand Academy Gothenburg, the University of Bremen, and the Bergen Academy of Art and Design.

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