Laura White - The Esque Collection

Mixed media, 2012. Courtesy the artist.

Laura White - The Esque Collection

Mixed media, 2012. Courtesy the artist.

Laura White - The Esque Collection

Mixed media, 2012. Courtesy the artist.

Laura White - The Esque Collection

Mixed media, 2012. Courtesy the artist.

The Esque Collection

8 January - 10 February 2019

Worcester Cathedral

Part of The Precious Clay: porcelain in contemporary art

The rest of the exhibition is at Museum of Royal Worcester until 20 March 2019

The Esque Collection explores the idea of Chinoiserie – a decorative style in Western art and objects, characterized by the use of Chinese motifs and techniques. Laura White is interested in Chinoiserie decorative objects of display, such as pre-19th-century ceramics, porcelain and furniture. Thinking about what Chinoiserie might mean now, both in China and the UK, she has been exploring the relationship and trade of crafted and manufactured objects between China and Europe, and the idea that Chinoiserie was historically described as something that was authored in the west and yet represented China, and where cultural misunderstanding was translated into the production of decorative objects and other decorative material. It is this sense of misunderstanding and misrepresentation through cross-cultural fertilization that produces extraordinary objects all over the world, such as replica plastic Chinoiserie tea sets sold in Turkish bricolage shops in east London, to replica miniature Gucci handbags sold in Shenzhen, China.

Taking the form of a collection, her Chinoiserie objects, pull from a wealth of ‘ready-mades’ – cheap plastic imports from China, European Chinoiserie and global reproduced souvenirs – to create sculptural/ornamental centrepieces, each displayed on their own podium. Their identities are in crisis, but each is bound by an intuitive formal logic and configuration.

Siting The Esque Collection at Worcester Cathedral opens up new dialogues around these works: the multi-coloured low-fi sculptures, offset against a backdrop of sophisticated stained glass windows and ecclesiastical architecture, raises questions of value, both in terms of materiality and context, while also finding common ground, such as making comparisons to other objects located in the cathedral (religious artifacts), that also reflect cross-cultural histories and ambitiously project and imagine themselves beyond their material make up.

Commissioned by Lucy Day and Eliza Gluckman in 2012 for Sinopticon (Plymouth), funded by Arts Council England and Trust New Art.

Laura White

Laura White focuses on a negotiation with the world of STUFF, i.e. interactions with materials and objects exploring ideas of value, profile, association, meaning and behaviour of materials, individual - and collections of - objects, and exploring the digital and the physical environments, which are becoming increasingly indistinguishable. Things are explored both as material stuff and anthropological signifiers that are capable of revealing the human condition - vulnerabilities and capabilities, value systems affected by consumerism and material status, and objects/human dependencies. Laura’s works occupy a fluid space, on one hand demanding critical discourse, and on the other their own ambiguous and intuitive logic.

Laura White grew up in Worcester and is an artist based in London.

Recent Solo Exhibitions: Double agents and great refusers, theAgency Gallery London, 2017, The MALAHITE Room. Gallery Cadaqués, Cadaqués, Spain, 2013. We Can Have It All. SPACEX, Exeter, 2012/13. For living, for loving, for loathing. Pollen, Monflanquin, France, 2011. Anxious Glory. Collective Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland, 2010/11. Chromodomo: Laura White. Scratching Walls and Sticky Décor. The Wall House #2, Groningen, Netherlands, 2009. If I had a monkey I wouldn’t need a TV Part 1 & 2. Castlefield Gallery Manchester and Carter Presents London, 2008-09.

Recent Projects/ events: WWW.TENDERFOOT.CO.UK Exploration of Materiality. Launched by QUAD Derby 17/2/17. (Ongoing project.), MARs Materiality – to open up new ways of interacting, thinking and talking about materiality – materiality as the subject rather than a vehicle for the non-material and theoretical. Goldsmiths College, London. 2017

Recent Group Exhibitions: Dissonant Heritage. Viborg Kunsthal, Denmark. 2018, The Superorganism. Gallery Box, Gothenburg, Sweden, 2017, WAYFARING. & Model, Leeds, curated by Laura White, 2016. The Flat Pack Session. Best Practice at Delta House Studios, London, 2016. A Colorful World. Nanjing International Art Exhibition, Nanjing China, 2014. Morphisisation. APT London, 2014. More Than I Dare to Think About: works with paper. Marlborough Contemporary, 2013. London Utd. Kling&Bang, Reykjavik, Iceland, 2013. Couriers of Taste: Contemporary artists explore consumerism and trade. Danson House, London, 2013. Cowboy Style. Marlborough Contemporary, London, 2013.

Publications: Laura White: The Stuff of Images. Castlefield Publications, (Corner House Distribution) ISBN 978-0-9559557-1-6, 2009             

Collections include:

Collection Olor Visual, Barcelona, Spain

Commissions and Residencies include:

POLLEN, Artistes en résidence à Monflanquin, France, 2011, Sandarbh Residency, Belper, Derbyshire, UK, 2009, Kleinsassen Art Gallery, Germany, Internationales Obernkirchener Symposium, Germany, 23rd Iwate-Town International Residency, Japan and Maalot, Israel.