People from the Porcelain Factory
The exhibition People from the Porcelain Factory is curated by the anthropologist, Ewa Klekot, and the ceramist, Arkadiusz Szwed. Presented in the exhibition The Human Trace tableware set, has been manufactured as a part of the People from the Porcelain Factory project, carried out in one of the oldest ceramic factories in Poland. The factory in Ćmielów, established in 1804, has been active in fine porcelain production since 1838. The set was produced on a factory production line by workers wearing gloves with their fingertips dipped in cobalt salts. The traces of their touch remain almost invisible until firing, when they appear on the porcelain body, as the cobalt turns dark blue. In this way the porcelain tableware keeps the touch of the workers’ hands, revealing the role of the “human factor” in industrial manufacturing.
Alongside the delicate tableware of the traditional Polish forms, the exhibition presents the photographs of the factory production and its workers – the anonymous creators of fragile cups, bowls and vases. It allows to completely change the reception of the beautiful objects on display, which from the objects of desire and the symbols of status become a story of the craftsmanship and the daily labour of the people that create them.
The exhibition is organised by Adam Mickiewicz Institute operating under the Culture.pl brand and hosted by the Slovene Ethnographic Museum in Ljubljana as one of personal exhibitions complementing the permanent exhibition I, We and the Others: Images of My World. People from the Porcelain Factory is an accompanying exhibition of 4th International Ceramics Triennial UNICUM 2018.
Curators: Ewa Klekot, University of Warsaw and School of Form, Poznań
Arkadiusz Szwed, School of Form, Poznań
Graphic design: Bartosz Grześkowiak
Exhibition design: Jarek Hulbój
Production: Monika Brauntsch
Museum supervisor in SEM: Nadja Valentinčič Furlan
Meeting People in the Porcelain Factory
Directed by Michal Reich, video Michal Reich, Arkadiusz Schwed, 2018, 5 min.
Anthropologist Ewa Klekot and ceramic designer Arkadiusz Schwed reveal their professional standpoints and how they, together with the workers from the porcelain factory in Polish Ćmielów, conceived the visualisation of their embodied knowledge.