60 years of passion for art and porcelain

Piet Stockmans 1963 + 60 = 2023

from 7 October up to and including 15 January

Keramiekcentrum Tiendschuur Tegelen shows this solo exhibition on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the world-famous porcelain designer and artist Piet Stockmans. 1963 saw the start of Piet Stockmans’ love of porcelain. His professional relationship with the white gold anniversary is a happy marriage that celebrates its diamond anniversary in 2023. By now he is (almost) 82 and still active in his studio on a daily basis. This exhibition pays homage to Piet Stockmans and his characteristic oeuvre in white and blue.

Good chemistry and some whim of fate

Piet Stockmans’ (Leopoldsburg (BE),1940) love of porcelain arose through a whim of fate. If his first job had been at a paper mill, everything would have been different. Then there would have been books on the wall no wand and he would have made his wall installations in paper. He says, ”With me, it became porcelain and that is what I have had to make do with. It is more important what you can express with a material rather than the material itself. In that sense, my love of porcelain is double.” However, this double love turns out to be an exceptionally good marriage. Piet Stockmans’ creative mind and the possibilities porcelain offers him provide great chemistry. An interaction that produces numerous works of art and designs and that has made him world-famous as a porcelain designer and artist.

Deep love of porcelain

Through the years, Piet Stockmans’ relationship with porcelain has deepened. Now, he loves porcelain in all its facets, from industrially produced crockery to objects produced according to traditional methods, from individual works of art to artistic installations. He examines porcelain in detail, kneads it, moulds it, strokes it, explores its limits, provokes its possibilities, honours it and respects it. His whole oeuvre is a declaration of love to porcelain. A monument for his comprehensive and unconditional love of the white gold.

How porcelain crossed his path

Piet Stockmans’ love of porcelain arises immediately after his academic training of Plastic Arts, Sculpture and Ceramics at the Provincial Higher Institute for Architecture and Applied Design in Hasselt, Belgium. He falls under the spell of porcelain as a designer at Royal Mosa in Maastricht. Here, he works from 1963 -1964 and, after that, from 1966-1989. He designs countless service sets for Mosa. They are mass-produced in the factory and used by many hands all over the world.

Hand-made porcelain according to traditional methods

Except for Mosa, he designs small series of porcelain made according to traditional methods in his own studio, such as crockery sets, hotplates, vases and ornaments. These objects are each unique because of the manual finish, such as a twist or an imprint in the soft porcelain or a touch of blue slip or oxide. These small series shows very well how Piet Stockmans plays with form, series and small variations.

Wild and uninhibited porcelain

These explorations go further still in his free work. Here, functionality is no longer a limiting factor. The collection of art that he has achieved in his career varies from playful modest studies of raw materials, geometric basic forms and production moulds to installations in which Stockmans throws caution to the winds and literally pours the porcelain across female bodies or literally throws through the space. Piet Stockmans’ productivity is enormous. Each work inspires to a next work. He likes working in series, in which each time the same form is processed slightly differently. He has an insatiable curiosity and an unstoppable source of creativity.

Silent porcelain

Working with series and repetition and playing intuitively with material, form and colour brings stillness and rest in Piet Stockmans’ head. He has developed his own unique method to take good care of his mind and well-being. He describes it as follows: “Creation is based on doing, not on thinking; making gives birth to ideas which in turn produce other ideas; gradually, on the way, however strange it may sound, decisive options are taken. Such as the automatism of the ploughing farmer, or the habit of prayer, or of reciting mantras, or another repetition of a daily gesture. It is looking for simplicity, for rest, for physical well-being.”

Porcelain love doesn’t rust

After working for well over 60 years, Piet Stockmans still always works with porcelain with equally much passion as if it is his first time. He examines form and material with an open mind, an enthusiasm and an eagerness that inspire and show that his love of porcelain will never die. He describes it himself as follows: “How great it is to be creative with a simple material as clay. I have worked with it all my life and the new ideas keep coming. How splendid it is that I can express myself every day with this white gold, porcelain, every day! Always with the same philosophy of tangibility and vulnerability.”

Porcelain milestone in the history of art

His passion for porcelain is particularly fertile and successful. Piet Stockmans is an important artist and designer of the Low Countries postwar history of art, a standard bearer within the design and ceramics world. His name, designs and works of art enjoy international name and fame and cannot be missed in important general reviews and museological collections. Consequently, his work is to be found in numerous museums for contemporary art, design and ceramics, in, among other things, Ghent, Amsterdam, London, Faenza, Sèvres, New York, Toronto and Los Angeles. Keramiekcentrum Tiendschuur Tegelen is particularly proud that it may present this anniversary exhibition. The exhibition can be visited from 7 October up to and including 15 January.

Opening/ preview: 7 October 16:00

Piet Stockmans will personally explain his work during the opening.
In addition, conservator/ manager Sacha Odenhoven will give an introduction.

Piet Stockmans will come and personally explain his work on Friday 2 December, 14:00.
Please book your reservation in advance.

For more information, check www.tiendschuur.net, or ask for Sacha Odenhoven, conservator/manager, info@tiendschuur.net, 0031 (0)77-3260213.