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Account of the Scholarly Exhibition at the Centre of Ceramic Studies, Cardiff


Babette Martini Statement

I grew up in the Ruhr area of Germany, which was once the largest centre of heavy industry in the world. Mining and steel making dominated both the economy and the landscape of this region for decades.

The artistic content draws upon the body exposed to the harsh industrial environment of steelworks, as its subject. The work examines how the heavy industrial process and environment of the steelworks forms the human body.

 The human hand symbolises the hard physical and manual work and the truncated body of the labourer, resulting from the repetitive use of only parts of their bodies. Hence, the protective glove becomes a metaphor of the industrial world. The tension between the interior and exterior becomes visible when the protective barrier of the glove is broken down either by wear and tear or the extreme impact of the industrial processes such as heat, only then does one become aware of the presence of the human hand. The situation within the steelworks is reflected in the interaction between the firing of the artworks and the medium used to form the glove. Consequently the process employed becomes analogous to the artistic concern and the fragmentation of the outer glove and inner hand could be regarded as the expression of the hazardous environmental conditions and experiences of the workers.

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