11 October 2021 – 29 January 2023
Clay Dynasty celebrates studio ceramics in Australia as shaped by three generations of makers. The first major exhibition to chart the astonishing diversity of ceramic practice across Australia, it features more than 400 ceramic objects from the Powerhouse collection, including more than 80 new acquisitions by contemporary ceramicists.
Clay Dynasty offered new perspectives by displaying ceramics of the crafts movement alongside postmodern and contemporary artworks. Distinctively Australian works complemented those inspired by other cultural traditions, and bold forms were contrasted with meditative objects and fine porcelain.
It brought together iconic and lesser-known works, including Margaret Dodd’s Blue Holden ceramic car, which feminised the macho FJ Holden of the 1970s, and Joan Ground’s ceramic postal parcel, which the artist addressed to a Melbourne gallery in 1973. Among works that had never been on public display before was the spectacular 70-piece collection of some of the earliest pottery created by Australian Indigenous makers in 1968–74 at Bagot Pottery in Darwin, Northern Territory.
Bringing together functional and expressive artistic traditions, Clay Dynasty reassessed the Australian experience, while highlighting the creative potential of clay at a time of a remarkable resurgence.
In conjunction with this major exhibition Powerhouse hosted a symposium and partnered with local ceramic studios to develop a range of exhibition–inspired masterclasses.
Clay Dynasty was designed in collaboration with Aileen Sage Architects and AX Interactive and supported by Brickworks.