Rupert Spira is one of Britain's most acclaimed
studio potters and this exhibition has travelled to the Sainsbury
Centre from an exhibition tour of Japan.
The pots on display comprise bowls, cylinder vessels
and large jars. Spira combines ceramic vessels with poetic texts
- it is a collection of work in which his austere pots are embossed
with text or poetry, or otherwise etched with intricately fine lines
that create a surface dialogue through language and texture.
Trails of text and pattern drift across the pots, seemingly endless,
luring us closer, inviting us to inspect the nature of these beautiful,
ethereal ceramic forms.
Deep bowl, embossed poem under white glaze by
Rupert Spira said: "I first visited the Sainsbury
Centre as a student in the early 1980's to look at the work of Lucie
Rie and Hans Coper, as well as the extensive and inspiring collection
of so-called Primitive Art.
"It never occurred to me then that my work would become part
of that collection.
"So what started as a source of inspiration has also developed
into a source of support and encouragement, and I am deeply grateful
to Lisa and the late Sir Robert Sainsbury as well as many of the
members of staff, for all that they have enabled on both fronts,"
Amanda Geitner, Head of Collections and Exhibitions
said: "Ceramic work in the Sainsbury Collection spans 5,000
years of creative production - from the Jomon 'cord-marked' pots
of ancient Japan to the modernist studio pottery of Lucie Rie and
"A body of early work by Spira is already in the collection.
This exhibition of very beautiful new work extends our understanding
of the possibilities of the vessel form," added Geitner.
There will also be a launch of a new Rupert Spira
book at the opening of the exhibition. It will incorporate images
of all the works seen in the exhibition including many colour images
of Spira's early work, as well as an essay by Emmanuel Cooper.
The Rupert Spira exhibition will run in
the Special Exhibition Gallery at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual
Arts from Tuesday 29 June until Sunday 25 July 2004.