Olivia Azzopardi is a queer deaf British artist based in the East- Midlands and Kent. Her practise revolves around human-nature exchanges and personal narratives through Ceramic, Video and Installation.
Olivia’s final work exhibits dystopian ceramic artefacts installed in an imagined excavation site 10,000 years into the future. This is the second installation following from Archiving the Artist (2023). The term ‘Jam-Tomorrow’ stems from Lewis Carol’s Alice in Wonderland, meaning a promise of a pleasant event in the future that will never happen, alluding to the paper promises on the governments goals towards ‘fixing’ climate catastrophe that’s spiralling chaotically out of our control before us . Manipulating with themes of time, man’s relationship to nature and throwaway culture. Inspired by Robert Smithson’s installation Spiral Jetty (1970), we see lifecycles in excavations of our waste across the ages, which are relics of our past humanity.
This work aims to see two sides of the apocalyptic coin.
The Heads: Unearthing environmental devastation with a site specific series lifecycles on excavated archaeological materials (d.1880-1914 Lincoln) and Loughborough clay evolving into molten anthropocentric artefacts.
The Tails: Finding hope in native flora in the UK thriving through civilisation going back to a primal relationship between man-and-earth 10,00 years in the future. Where in this installation holds a series of foraging herbs, flowers and vegetables to repurpose this forgotten courtyard.
(The Courtyard for this installation was gardened in collaboration with LSU Gardening and Landscaping Society, who donated locally grown plants from the Campus allotment. Alongside help from the Loughborough Locals : Rob- who helped with excavating in Lincoln, Ian and Maria – who donated soil, Robin and _ helping with other vintage finds. Bringing the community together to breathe new life back into this wild and derelict space.)
Both of the sides to the coin show a complex dance between losing control in destruction and growth. We both live and die in an endless cycle of harming the land and facing its consequences and vice-versa.
In these videos we excavate raw footage from the artist’s creative methodologies. From digging for archaeological artefacts, to forming plaster moulds, as well as locally ploughing and processing raw Charnwood Clay into liquid casting slip….
….including building a kiln and battling with the elements in Olivia’s first wood firings.
Ephemeral Experiences of Excavating the Past, 120mm Holga Strips, 2023.
UGLINESS BENEATH THE BEAUTY (2019).
This series of ceramic sculptures revolves around the detrimental effects of mining. Specifically looking at extraction scars made in underground cave systems created for mining commercial ores and gemstones.
LET’S KEEP DREAMING (2020-21).
Emulating the aesthetics of weathered relics from Roman and Grecian ruins. These ceramic tablets are a part of a relief casting confessional poetry of the artist’s descending mental wellbeing through heartbreak and grief of a ‘new normal’ life during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
This body of skin casts and etchings develops confessional poetry into a series of more reflective personal narratives to Olivia’s mental health.
SKINS (2021), informed by the artist’s skin condition of Urticaria (constant hiving and itchiness), rashes and plumes of text are bursting out emotions.
Part I: Excavation Finds in Lincoln (2022).
This video documentary follows Rob, a local Loughborough mudlarker-enthusiast who takes Olivia and her housemate on their first ‘big dig’. These show the archaeological glass bottle and ceramics (d.1880-1914) that are furthered in different times of the artist’s creative methodologies. This cow paddle site was popular for bottle flipping back in the 1980’s, and was Rob’s first digging site back in his early teens- starting a lifelong relationship of digging through the decades. Echoes of the past are brought to the surface once more.
Part II: Processing the Present (2022).
Progressing on from the excavation in Lincoln, Olivia starts the journey of creating a creative methodology of plaster mould-making to then manipulating timestamps for slip casting in porcelain. These artefacts are thrusted into the present, re-valuing the vintage waste’s ‘trendiness’ and handmade qualities into commercial porcelain lines. Here we witness the art of craft and a love of labour towards their creations.
Part III: Fragments of a Possible Future (2023).
Alongside ceramic fragments is a series of audio clips with projected captions. Interviewing the Loughborough locals on how they feel about the unfolding climate catastrophe, this installation investigates the loose ideas of how vintage glass and ceramic waste will fuse with the earth 10,000 in a possible future. This follows into ‘Jam-Tomorrow: Excavation lifecycles in the apocalypse.‘ (2023).
May 2023: Co-Curator and exhibit in ‘Contemporary Ceramics Exhibition’ hosted at Canal House, BomBom Patisserie, Loughborough.
Apr- Jun 2023: Lead Curator and exhibit in Charnwood Arts Student Association Exhibition ‘Light and Shadow’ (as a part of Lboro Lates).
Apr 2023: Creativity In the Time of COVID-19: Art for Equity and Social Justice Michigan State University Exhibition, USA.
Jun 2022: Recre8 Summer Camp Teacher, Leading class projects in pottery, fine art, photoshop and graphic design to children ages 5-14, Tonbridge School for Boys, Kent.
Mar 2022: Interview with No Jobs In The Arts on their Instagram platform, East-Midlands.
2021/22: Placement year, Studio Assistant at Nacho Carbonell, Eindhoven, The Netherlands. Working with silicone, metal, plaster, glass, solder, and co-developing ceramics methodologies.
Sep 2021-22: School President for School of Design and Creative Arts, Loughborough University.