Ruth Duckworth | A Life In Clay | Salon 94

Ruth Duckworth | A Life In Clay

Estate of Ruth Duckworth

This is an excerpt of Ruth Duckworth: A Life In Clay, which played on the video wall from May 22 - May 29, 2020.

Filmed in 2002 when Ruth Duckworth was 84, this intimate documentary highlights the artist’s history, philosophy, and vision as a sculptor working in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Duckworth was a British sculptor known for her smooth ceramic works of abstract forms from nature. Duckworth's simple philosophy, “Work comes from play” belies the complexity of her vision, from her ceramic sculpture to her extraordinary mural work. Finding inspiration from early Bronze Age Cycladic sculptures, Duckworth’s works have smooth and elongated silhouettes with slight details to insinuate the face and limbs.

Born Ruth Windmüller on April 10, 1919 in Hamburg, Germany to a Jewish father and Christian mother, she was forced to leave Germany in 1936 and study abroad at the Liverpool College of Art in the United Kingdom due to Nazi restrictions on Jewish students. She initially worked as a tombstone engraver in England, and later moved to Chicago to teach at the University of Chicago in 1964. As the filmmaker's conversational portrait reveals, Ruth did more than survive; she became a pioneering artist. Duckworth once said, “I think of life as a unity. This unity includes mountains, mice, rocks, trees, and women and men. It is all one lump of clay."

Total run time: 32:02

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May 22, 2020–May 29, 2020

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