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Ceramic panel of stained and white stoneware, plus slip trailing decoration – development of this slip trailing shown in the stopframe animation 'Unearthed'

H. 75 x dia. 55 cm



About Jo Pearl

Unearthed is a campaigning yet enchanting combination of clay stop-frame animation and ceramics to magically create an illusion of life celebrating healthy soil teeming with amazing biodiversity. There is an aptness to using clay to investigate the hidden world of soil. Playing with scale, Jo Pearl makes the invisible visible as we zoom downwards, discovering ever smaller beings. Balletic characters – inspired by worms, bugs, fungal mycelium and bacteria - dance out of her imagination. This magnified biome beneath our feet, beguiles and whispers a plea for us to ‘Save Our Soil’.


Alongside the short film, ‘microscopic’ ceramic characters, some of which were created during the animation process, are shown as zoological specimens. Drawing on an historical tradition of explorers’ specimen collections pinned into entomology cases, the fauna displayed is strange. As though in suspended animation, we have time to examine and wonder at unexpected shapes and textures.


Kinetic ‘stabiles’ also breathe life into these ceramic beings with microbes, worms and mycelium spinning and swinging in space. Each teeters on delicately balanced brass and mild steel rods, expressing the precariousness of the fragile equilibrium in our soil’s biome.


Jo trained in ceramics at Central Saint Martins launching her hybrid practice, combining clay stop-frame animation with ceramics. Since then, her stopmotion films have won several awards including the People’s Vote for the Best Short Film at the 2023 International Ceramics Festival in Aberystwyth, and Best British Short at the Lion of Light Awards 2023. Her hybrid installation work as been shown in various galleries and campaigning exhibitions at London City Hall, Norwich Cathedral, a solo show in the home of Charles Darwin and On Air, a group show about air pollution which she co-curated at Ceramic Art London 2022. 


Her latest body of work, Unearthed, was first exhibited in Berlin in Unfamiliar Ground, which she co-curated in October 2023. Its animated film will be screened at the World Soil Science Congress in Florence in May 2024 and Soil Dialogues an accompanying exhibition curated by EcoArtSpace. She has also been invited to mount Della Terra a solo show at BAart, a centre for Barbera wine and art in Piedmont, Italy in August 2024.




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Unearthed – Mycelium Wall Panel | 75 x 55 cm | By Jo Pearl

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