Tin glazed earthenware tiles with cobalt, wooden structure, tap2019
About the work
Place: Department for International Trade, Old Admiralty Building
WELL is a circular drinking fountain with tin-glazed earthenware tiles hand-painted by Tania Kovats, designed as a prototype for Design Exhibition Scotland 2019. Loading a paint brush with blue cobalt, Kovats has taken the brush across each tile, leaving in its wake a flow of watery blue colour. Some tiles are darker and more densely filled with colour, on others the lines of colour are slender and the watery liquid has ‘pooled’ and is reminiscent of ink blots. In her own words:
Water has been at the centre of my work for some time now. It shapes my sculptures, writing, drawing and thinking. This has meant reflecting on geopolitical issues and critical environmental concerns alongside swimming out into deeper waters questioning what our liquid selves might be. I am currently making works that arise from experiencing water as a boundary. This was something I could literalise when I walked the River Tweed where the river forms a national boundary between England and Scotland. WELL is a work where I celebrate the simple act of taking water into ourselves, drinking water, a basic human right, critical for life, an everyday luxury in our part of the world, and can be done without causing harm environmentally if we reduce the use of single use plastic water bottles. I am currently making plans to visit some of the long marked healing wells in Scotland. In some small way public shared drinking fountains help remind us that all our waters are connected.
On a broader scale, Kovats' sculptures, large-scale installations, commissions, writing and drawings, explore our understanding of landscape, and travel is often central to her work. In 2007, her work Meadow, involved the transportation of a complete wildflower meadow from Bath to London by canal boat; and in 2008, she journeyed around South America, exploring the landscape where Darwin first began to develop his evolutionary ideas.
About the artist
Born in London in 1966, Tania Kovats is an award winning artist. She exhibits internationally, publishes regularly, and her work is held in several major collections. Recent solo exhibitions include 'Oceanic' at Parafin, London (2021); 'Head to Mouth' at The Gymnasium Gallery, Berwick (2019); and 'Evaporation' at the Museum of Science & Industry, Manchester (2016). Her work is presented in many major collections and as significant permanent public commissions, including 'The Space of Reading' at the Bodleian Library in Oxford and 'TREE' at the Natural History Museum in London. Her work, 'GRAIN', is permanently installed at County Hall in Trowbridge. Kovats is currently Professor of Teaching and Research at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design; and Professor of Drawing at Bath Spa University.
Tania Kovats (1966 - )
- Tin glazed earthenware tiles with cobalt, wooden structure, tap
- height: 116.0 cm; width: 61.7 cm; depth: 61.0 cm
- Purchased from Design Exhibition Scotland, with funds raised from print sales from the Robson Orr TenTen Award, a GAC/Outset Annual Commission, 31 March 2020
- Design Exhibition Scotland, Edinburgh UK; from whom purchased by UK Government Art Collection, 31 March 2020
- GAC number