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Watch an Artist Detonate a Block of Clay to Make a Pot

Artist Adam Železný uses detonating charges to put an explosive spin on traditional ceramic techniques.
November 5, 2014, 3:20pm

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Prague-based artist Adam Železný subverts traditional ceramic techniques by blowing them to pieces—literally. Instead of using the wheel to make pottery, Železný enlists explosive charges to create unique bowls and other clay objects.

The project debuted earlier this year under the rather appropriate title, The Blast. In the video above, we see Železný’s actions in full, giving a better understanding of the mechanisms required to create these pieces. First, we see Železný set up his clay into balls with the wires of the explosives sticking out. Then he places the clay balls into what look like heavy cement molds. After that, he sets the detonations off and we watch a small mushroom cloud of smoke and clay take shape. After the dust settles, the video reveals unglazed bowls with new organic shapes and cracks.

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The use of the cement mold creates a frame for the explosion that allows for a juxtaposition in surfaces: a smooth, rounded outside and a cracked and fragmented inside. Through trial and error and a “sophisticated system of explosive charges,” Železný is able to determine the strength of the explosion and the resulting size and shape of a bowl.

The Blast challenges the medium of ceramics and the boundaries between the applied and fine arts. In the project description on Vimeo, Železný states that the act of an explosion imposed on ceramics, “is kind of a punk analogy to an industrial porcelain production, isostatic shaping, which is also based on the use of pressure.”

h/t beautiful decay

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