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'Helmet' . 2013
Born in 1938 in London, Mo Jupp trained at Camberwell under Hans Coper, Lucie Rie, Ian Auld and Bryan Newman and at the Royal College of Art. He has worked from various studios in the Gloucestershire area including a 15th century farmhouse and a manor house and now lives and works in France. He works in sculptured ceramics with any materials that can be fired, using a variety of methods. Early in his career he produced helmets in stoneware, then busts of women. More recent works, still on the theme of women, are slender figures and torsoes. In 2013 he made a significant return to a much earlier Jupp archetype, the helmet theme which first established his international reputation in the 1970s.
Major exhibitions include: Primavera Gallery, London & Cambridge; 1st Triennale of Ceramics, Belgrade; Arts Council Shows in Japan & USA; Oxford Gallery; British Crafts Centre/Contemporary Applied Arts; Victoria & Albert Museum, London; ICA Gallery London (solo show); Westminster Gallery, Boston; Galerie Besson, London; Crafts Council, London; Oxford Ceramics Gallery (solo show).
'Mo Jupp left the RCA in 1967. Though his time there only briefly overlapped with Coper's, Jupp had also come in contact with Coper earlier at Camberwell. Jupp has given the great majority of his time to teaching and, consequently, has produced very little work over the years, but he has been one of the champions of sculptural ceramics. His work has always been highly inventive and often provocative.
Mo Jupp is still, probably, best known for the wonderful series of helmet forms that he made about 1972. While being based on the idea of protection, these extraordinary 'helmets' are often extremely sinister and are not, to put it mildly, everyone's taste. The helmet series disturbed a few people, but his next series totally outraged many. In 1973, he exhibited at the British Crafts Centre a series of little porcelain temples adorned with cane or white feathers and containing gold or silver genitalia. Most people, upset by the explicit sexual content, complained about putting feathers on pots.
Since 1978, Jupp has concentrated almost entirely on the female form. His work, rarely shown, invariably meets with a mixed reaction. In 1984, there was an exhibition at Aberystwyth of somewhat erotic female busts - often with bird's heads. This was followed in 1988 by an exhibition at contemporary Applied Arts (the British Crafts Centre with a new name) of thin female forms with a superficial resemblance to Giacometti sculptures ranging from only four inches high to life-size.
As always, many complain about any ceramics not based on the vessel. The irony of referring to pots by their 'body', 'foot', 'lip', 'neck', etc, and not appreciating ceramics based on the human form is often overlooked.'
(from 'British Studio Ceramics' by Paul Rice, published in 1989 & 2002)