The two subjects of « ceramics » and « symposium » appear to me as two infants, who are now given the breast, now laid aside and rejected. This fact is closely connected to the perceived value given to « clay arts » in the various regions of our world.
In Europe, the significance of ceramics within fine art has begun to slide ever further into the sidelines since the end of the 20th century – after a few high points such as historicism, art nouveau and the arts and crafts movement, art deco, and the era of change following the collapse of 1945. This phenomenon is also reaching virulence in other regions of western cultural influence, but with a slight delay. In the asian hemisphere, its esteem is being destroyed through fundamental political upheavals, only Japan can be seen as an exception, because of its clinging to traditions. This exception however takes place within the realm of fixed rules for traditional pottery. The area of younger ceramics, oriented more towards the west, is only slowly gaining ground.
It is a delight to find so many of the participants among members of the IAC – the International Academy of Ceramics, a world-wide organisation related to UNESCO, representing ceramicists with a sound foundation, and also Museum workers, editors of specialist literature, representatives of educational institutions, and important collectors.
New contacts can be made, and existing ones refreshed. There will be an interesting flow of information about the situation of ceramic art, will bring clarity on the one hand, but also new confusions on the other, and thereby generate new thought processes.
Even though I could grow pessimistic about the messages I receive from the world of ceramics, particularly where the views of educational institutions in many countries are concerned, the positive view for the future is far more important – I have repeatedly seen that the « earthen arts » can be compared to a phoenix, which rises from the ashes time and time again.