AnnaLeaClelia Tunesi | Althea Wilson: Contemporary Archaeology Goes Pop | Paradise Preserved

We are delighted to announce Contemporary Archaeology Goes Pop and Paradise Preserved, the second collaboration by the Italian sculptural ceramicist AnnaLeaClelia Tunesi and British photographer Althea Wilson.

This is comprised of a new body of work by Tunesi inspired by The British Museum’s collection of Roman and Greek pottery. Drawing on aesthetics of antiquity, the sculptures presented in the exhibition appear at first glance to be delicate artefacts that have been rescued for posterity from an archaeological dig. They are in fact beautifully constructed facsimiles not based on any particular original but forged instinctively from the artist’s imagination.

Building on their first exhibition, which took place at the Ransom Gallery in 2019, Wilson’s work depicts Tunesi’s creations within the traditions of still life paint- ing, using fruit and dried flowers to embellish themes of beauty and languid decay. Drawing on the Old Masters, these works have an atmospheric poignancy, conveying the passing of time and loss.

Tunesi’s sculptures are not thrown on a wheel, instead she uses the process of coiling, a method that has been used to shape clay for many thousands of years. The artist then ‘slashes’ with ribs into the work replicating the ravages of time. Multiple glazes of difffrent hues are then applied to further antiquate the sculptures, which are then fired. It is a haphazard process, creating beautiful accidents, with at least one in five of the works discarded.


The fragmented quality of the work is essential to the aesthetic; as Tunesi says, ‘What is missing is where the imagination begins.’ Beautifully expressive, they offer a calming meditation on rupture and dishevelment, qualities captured with poetic imagination through Wilson’s lens.