Ben Uri collection

Ordinary Girl

Artist information

Name Sue Goldschmidt (1966-)

Born Melbourne, Australia

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Sue Goldschmidt is an Australian-born ceramic artist working in London. She attended Beth Rivkah Ladies College in Melbourne, followed by two Bachelor of Arts degrees at the Universities of Manchester and Westminster, in Language & Literary Studies and Ceramics, respectively. She is well-known for her delicate ceramic installations of female garments, such as tutus, dresses and skirts. What could be misread at frivolous fashion-focused art is actually highly autobiographical, described by the artist as “intensely human and intensely private”. It may seem contradictory that Goldschmidt address her public art work as private, but she insists that she must be truly personal, in order to be truly universal. Goldschmidt’s porcelain dresses should be understood as self-portraits, which simultaneously explore the human condition. For example, Goldschmidt mixes incredibly delicate materials such as feathers and flowers with the ceramics, the former of which disintegrate when fired in the kiln, and provide a “material metaphor for absent presence”.

Object Details

Date 2008

Object type ceramic

Medium ceramic, wire and porcelain

Materials and techniques porcelain | wire (medium)

Dimensions 41 x 31 x 26 cm

Acquisition purchased 2008

Accession number 2009-14

Display status not on display

In Ordinary Girl, a porcelain t-shirt adorned with wings hangs in the air, tilted at an angle, flying upwards with wings on its back. The piece is ceramicist Sue Goldschmidt's response to the Ipswich murders, in which media coverage, friends and family expressing shock, referred to the victims as just ‘ordinary girls.’ The work encompasses a number of opposites: it is made of a heavy porcelain, yet seems to float. It is wrinkled and looks flexible, but has been fired and so is more restrictive than a corset. The piece is part of a body of works in which the artist meditates on loss and death. This work was included in the exhibition 'Schmatte Couture' curated for Ben Uri by artist Sarah Lightman at the Rivington Gallery in London's East End in 2008.

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© Sue Goldschmidt