Daniel Dewar & Grégory Gicquel
The Bidet and the Jar
Opening 9 June 2023, from 6 pm to 9 pm
Through the use of traditional craft production techniques and materials, the British-French artist duo Daniel Dewar and Grégory Gicquel explore potential forms of sculptural practice and their relationship to manual labour. Their work—which lies between representation and function, the ready-made and craftsmanship—engages with popular imagery and produces a symbolic and functional displacement of everyday objects.
The Bidet and the Jar is a response to the experimental nature of MACRO’s Rehearsal section, and sees the artists further their forays into creating ceramic artworks, all the while maintaining a level of uncertainty with respect to the outcome. The stoneware sculptures are produced by the artists themselves using a traditional wood-fired kiln fabricated in their studio, dimensioned for a large scale of production. The size of the kiln, their commitment to hand modelling the clay, and the technique of high-temperature wood firing afford Daniel Dewar and Grégory Gicquel the opportunity to develop a ceramic practice rooted in repetition and open to accidents and chance events. In contrast to this empirical and “artisan” approach, the duo have chosen to appropriate and refabricate a repertoire of industrial ceramics, habitually mass-produced within a factory environment.
In a display consisting of four identical tables, the sculptures sit arranged by type and form, depicting bidets, jugs, vases, basins, and dishes. Some are simply adorned by surface glaze patina and firing effects, while some are decorated with toads, taps, shells, and fragments of human bodies. While created in series, each piece appears as an original, thus toying with the notion of the uniqueness of the artwork and questioning the logic of industrial production.
Pale green tablecloths over long tables evoke a dining room, a sanitary ware showroom, and a clinical setting; all environments where the exchange of liquids from inside and out of bodies and objects take place. The works, each coated with a green-to-brown glaze, therefore appear as wet vessels or as negative spaces that can be bathed, emptied, and filled by the trickle of a muddy stream or the clear flow of a bathroom tap.
DANIEL DEWAR (1976, Forest of Dean, UK; lives and works in Brussels, Belgium) GRÉGORY GICQUEL (1975, Saint-Brieuc, FR; lives and works in Plévenon, France). Dewar & Gicquel have been working as an artist duo since 1998. Solo exhibitions of their work have been held at the Vienna Secession; Kunsthalle Basel; Culturgest, Lisbon; Portikus, Frankfurt; Kunstinstituut Melly, Rotterdam; KIOSK, Ghent; Musée Rodin, Paris; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Palais de Tokyo, Paris. Their work was featured in several group exhibitions, including the 2020 Geneva Biennial; 2019 Lyon Biennial; WIELS, Brussels; CAC, Vilnius; Santa Barbara Museum of Art; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; 2011 Yokohama Triennial; Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris; Raven Row, London; CAPC, Bordeaux; and Artists Space, New York. Dewar & Gicquel won the Prix Marcel Duchamp in 2012. Their work is part of the collections of Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Fonds cantonal d’art contemporain, Geneva; FRAC Ile-de-France; FRAC Aquitaine; FRAC Basse-Normandie; FRAC Pays De La Loire and FRAC Corse. Body of Work, a comprehensive monograph, was published in 2019 by KIOSK, Kunsthalle Basel, Portikus, and Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, encompassing their practice since 2001.
Cover image: View of artists’ studio with wood-fired kiln
The Bidet and the Jar is promoted by the Cultural Department of Roma Capitale and Azienda Speciale Palaexpo.
The exhibition was supported by Trampoline, Association in support of the French art scene, Paris and Institut Français, Paris.