Space Ship Derelict - Paul Astbury

Space Ship Derelict, Paul Astbury, 1974. Image © Nick Moss

Object Details

Date of making
Date of acquisition
Ceramics: press-moulding
Oxidised porcelain, glaze
H194mm x W333mm
Collection Number

Maker Details

Cheshire, England
Place Trained
Stoke on Trent, BA Ceramics; Royal College of Art, London, MA Ceramics & Glass
62 Sedgeford Road, Stockwood, Shepherds Bush, London, W12 0NB, England
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Paul Astbury’s early ceramic work of the 70s was constructed using complex industrial press-moulding techniques. Themes included images of disintegrating machines, spaceships, capsules and dinosaurs. By the mid-70s, this had developed into a new range of work known as Synthetic Strata - clay formed into artificial rocks, exposing electronic circuitry, robots and mechanical detritus. The Crafts Council Collection documents this important period in Astbury’s making with nine works collected during the mid-70s.

Astbury’s work was shown in the 1973 Crafts Advisory Committee exhibition ‘Astbury, Shannon, Rowe’, and in ‘On the Edge’, Crafts Council Gallery in 1993.

Read more about related loans and exhibitions

Glenn Adamson

“Paul Astbury's work has, I think, been undervalued since he burst upon the scene in the 1970s as one of a generation of enfants terribles working in ceramics. For the exhibition Postmodernism: Style and Subversion, 1970 to 1990 the Victoria and Albert Museum acquired a particularly tough piece of his: a cardboard box with scraps of fired clay bolted into it. But this object in the Crafts Council's archive is equally evocative of his post-apocalyptic, high concept style. Cast from sci-fi toys and deliberately distressed, it comes across as a prop model for the ultimate postmodern film, Blade Runner, except Space Ship Derelict was made a full decade earlier than the film.”

Glenn Adamson

Glenn Adamson, Head of Graduate Studies and Deputy Head of Research, Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

From the Archive

Seven British Ceramists, pp. 18-21, Crafts no. 10, September/October 1974. © Crafts Magazine, Angela Turner, Rob Matheson (images)

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