Mo Jupp - Solo Exhibition

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MOJUPP Oxford Ceramics Gallery

Front Cover Helmet No.2 MJ31 / 46cm H, 22cm W

Figuration is a hit and miss affair in modern British ceramics. The human form is often academicised or caricatured into essential stasis by contemporary artists. But for Mo Jupp it has been much more than a subject, for he has always been beguiled by femaleness, the body as a place for celebration, affection and enchantment (in the proper sense of the word). A landscape to be gauged and re-gauged. Other art may come to mind when we view Mo's work; Ancient Egyptian and Romanesque sculpture, sub-Saharan tribal carving, and a good deal else. Yet in viewing his figures afresh, it is the combination o of the ideal and the ordinary, the prosaic, that is so attractive. This is the realm of artists like Degas, where the female nude is a complex of attitudes; taut or limp, standing or resting, tired or alert, the positions relaxed, observing, often provocative. Jupp homes in on posture; the torso turned or twisting, legs crossed, open or squeezed up against the chest. The pear - another favourite Jupp motif - is treated with the same quirkiness, a fruit with its own gait and personality. Like Degas, this is a sculpture of demeanour, each a study of articulated form in which exaggeration and fragmentation g an extended sinewy limb or an attenuated torso - conveys a greater truth about how one actually feels. It is also how we can see and think of one another, the distortion of appearance and memory. Yet highly individualised though each of these figures are, there is still is still a sense of archetype, a drawing on tradition, which gives each work its characteristically totemic presence, however small the piece. This totemism was taken to its physical limits in a memorable display of figurative vertical rods that delineated the space of a Sussex garden (Peter's Barn Gallery) back in 1997. The work keeps its freshness f and energy because of Jupp's sheer engagement with the clay. It is a material he knows so well, where each join and joint, each tuck and squeeze, is accentuated by free washes and coverings of slip, often rubbed back to reveal the colour beneath. He explores this substance at its most malleable and sensual, a potent equivalent of the human surface. And this quality is extended into his delightful bases too (sometimes improvised with suitably coarse air bricks), which give these figures their own territory, and are just as expressive. There is a rawness, a nimble speed of making, which adds to the spirit and verve of these objects. This exhibition shows a significant return to another Jupp archetype, the helmet theme which first established his international reputation in the early 1970s, but which has lost none of its dark menace. Originally of generally more rounded dome-like form, these new helmets are flatter-topped, like the economy of early medieval armour, with some built up into taller cylinders. With their sinister and anonymous facial slits they have echoes of gun emplacements or coastal defense towers, even of Ned Kelly's infamous head-gear. The world of forty years ago was one of Cold War and nuclear threat. As I write now, no in 2013, these objects seem no less prescient. Mo Jupp's gaze is one both of affirmation and pathos, and as these helmets show, something more ominous too. David Whiting February 2013

Opposite page, right / Helmet MJ14 / 16cm H, 8cm W left / Helmet MJ15 / 17cm H, 7cm W Above / Six small helmets between 6cm and 14cm high

Above left / Laying Figure MJ17 / 4cm H, 15cm W Above right / Seated Figure MJ38 / 21cm H, 18cm W Overleaf / Helmet No.15 MJ25 / 25cm H, 15cm W

Opposite page / Seated Figure MJ21 / 20cm H, 12cm W Above / Figures & helmets between 6cm and 12cm high Above right / Helmet MJ32 / 24cm H, 19cm W

Opposite page / Kneeling figure MJ20 / 13cm H, 15cm W Above / Helmet No.10 MJ27 / 21cm H, 17cm W Right / Helmet No.4 MJ30 / 44cm H, 18cm W Far Right / Helmet No.2 MJ31 / 46cm H, 22cm W

Opposite page / Laying figure MJ19 / 6cm H, 18cm W This page / Leaning Figure MJ39 / 33cm H, 29cm W

MOJUPP Exhibitions

1961 London, Primavera Gallery 1962 London, Gordon Hall Gallery: solo exhibition 1963 London, Art & Design Gallery 1965 London, Camden Arts Festival London, Nicholas Treadwell Gallery: solo exhibition 1968 London, Crafts Centre London, Camden Arts Festival Cent London, Design Centre Belgrade, 1st Triennial of Ceramics: British Representative 1969 London, Grabowski Gallery: solo exhibition Cambridge, Primavera Gallery Japan, Arts Council Travelling Exhibition Nottingham, Midlands Group USA, Arts Council Travelling Exhibition 1972 London, Victoria & Albert Museum: British Potters Europe, Arts Council Travelling Exhibition: Ten Potters 1973 London, Crafts Centre 1974 Oxfo Oxford Gallery: solo exhibition Oxford, 1976 London, Victoria & Albert Museum: BodyBox 1979 London, ICA Gallery: solo exhibition 1980 South West Arts Travelling Exhibition 1981 Darmstadt: Six International Potters 1982 Rufford, Crafts Centre 1984 Aberystwyth, Arts Centre: solo exhibition 1985 USA, Boston, Massachusetts, Westminster Gallery

1986 London, Cre Gallery, Knightsbridge 1987-1990 Bristol, Edition 60, annual exhibition: Miniature Prints 1988 London, Contemporary Applied Arts: solo retrospective Edinburgh, Festival Invitation exhibition London, Sotheby's Invitation exhibition 1989 London, Usiskin Gallery Ashford-in-the-Water, Derbyshire, Tithe Barn Gallery London, Contemporary Applied Arts Bristol, Arnolfini Gallery, Edition 60: Miniature Prints 1989-90 London, Crafts Council: Harrow Connection 1991 Bologna, Galleria Il Giardino dell'Arte London, Galerie Besson: Selection from a Private Collection Sudbury, Essex, Gainsborough House Erfurt: Configura Inte Aberystwyth: International Potters' Festival (demonstration) Bedales School London, Contemporary Applied Arts 1995 London, Contemporary Applied Arts: The Body London, Crafts Council: Pandora's Box Oxford, Oxford Gallery: Body Language 1996 London, Crafts Council Tour: Hot Off the Press 1998 Cambridge, Lynne Strover Gallery 1999 Gateshead, Shipley Applied Arts: Body Language 2003 Nottinghamshi Nottinghamshire, Peter's Barn: solo exhibition London, Contemporary Applied Arts: Celebrating Education 2008 Shipston on Stour, Where I fell in Love Gallery: 70th Birthday Exhibition 2013 Oxford, The Oxford Ceramics Gallery: solo exhibition Oxford, Ashmolean Museum: Clay Live


Published by Oxford Ceramics Ltd. © Oxford Ceramics Ltd. 2013 Oxford Ceramics Gallery 29 Walton Street / Oxford / Oxfordshire OX2 6AA tel: (+44) 01865 512320 Introduction © David Whiting 2013 Photography © Michael Harris & James Fordham / Design Michael Harris

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