2024In the MakingMIMA (Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art), Freelands Award

In the Making, Jacqueline Poncelent, 2024. Installation shot at MIMA.

MIMA presents a solo exhibition surveying 50 years of work by acclaimed artist Jacqueline Poncelet. Poncelet’s work is characterised by a restless exploration of materials and making that is evident throughout her practice. As an artist she is fascinated by how tastes and fashions play out in the ways that humans dress, decorate living spaces, shape architecture and build infrastructures. Working across diverse media, Poncelet gathers and transforms patterns found in our cityscapes and rural landscapes.

Having trained in ceramics and working with clay for over ten years, Poncelet moved into making sculpture, painting and textiles before turning her attention to public commissions. Poncelet now works across a range of scales and media and this exhibition presents a rare opportunity to experience the breadth of her work. It includes tiny, delicate ceramics made in the 1970s, large, brightly coloured paintings and textiles from the 1990s, as well as watercolours and wallpapers made specifically for this exhibition.

Taking a thematic rather than chronological approach, In the Making presents works from different eras side by side, offering experiences of the artist’s inquiry and rigorous exploration of process across diverse bodies of work. The first gallery presents Poncelet’s early bone china pieces alongside a large, contemporary patterned wallpaper. Moving through the galleries, the exhibition’s final presentation juxtaposes a series of anguished, tense-looking figurative ceramic sculptures made in the 1980s, with a group of Poncelet’s latest large-scale watercolours. These abstracted landscapes are informed by her time spent living in South Wales.

This exhibition is Poncelet’s largest and most ambitious to date. In the Making was awarded the prestigious Freelands Award, established by the Freelands Foundation in 2016, which recognises the work of a female artist who has not yet received the acclaim that their work deserves. A new monograph – the artist’s first – will be published during the exhibition with Anomie and Hurtwood Publishing.

A special collection display, curated by Poncelet, accompanies the exhibition. This draws from a singular collection of the works associated with the New Jewellery Movement held within the Middlesbrough Collection at MIMA. The New Jewellery Movement was pioneered by artist makers working between the late 1970s to early 1990s across several European countries and took an innovative approach to materials and making processes to create wearable artworks. Poncelet’s ceramic work has been part of the Middlesbrough Collection at MIMA since the early 1980s and many pieces by her peers in British ceramics can be seen in the collection displays across the gallery.

The exhibition is accompanied by a programme of family activities, engagement programmes and a public programme of tours, talks and social events. Find out more on MIMA’s website.