Month in Review: October 2012

Month in Review on Ceramics Now Magazine: October 2012, Courtesy Tanoue Shinya

Hello friends. Welcome to Month in Review, a summary of the last month of activity here at Ceramics Now.
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This month’s featured interviews (view list):

Patricia Sannit - Artist of the month
Annie Woodford - Spotlight
Kwok-Pong Bobby Tso - Spotlight
Anti-Utopias / Sabin Borş - EXTRA!

This month’s special feature (ongoing - interviews):

Romanian Contemporary Ceramics
Eugenia Pop - In memoriam
Arina Ailincăi
Marta Jakobovits
Cristina Popescu Russu
Bogdan Teodorescu

This month’s featured exhibitions:

Ceramics Now Exhibition 3rd / Galateea Gallery, Bucharest
Francesca DiMattio / Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London
The Open West 2012 Award Winners exhibition / England
Caroline Andrin & Francois Ruegg / Puls Ceramics, Brussels
Melissa Stern: The Talking Cure / Smart Clothes, New York
Anne Tophøj and Marianne Nielsen / Copenhagen Ceramics
Cynthia Lahti exhibition / Zentrum für Keramik, Berlin
Kim Simonsson / Galerie Favardin & de Verneuil, Paris
Mark Goudy & Liza Riddle / SMAart Gallery, San Francisco
When I Woke / Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre, Wales
Three exhibitions at The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, PA
German Op-Art Ceramics / University of Arizona Museum

This month’s featured connections:

Jannis Kounellis / Parasol unit foundation, London
Olaf Breuning: Human Nature / Pippy Houldsworth Gallery
Yin&Yang Parisienne Mix for Ceramics Now, October 2012
The reopening of Fabrica de Pensule 2012 / Cluj-Napoca
Carsten Nicolai - Unidisplay projection wall installation

Patricia Sannit - Artist of the month, October 2012

ARTIST OF THE MONTH, October 2012: Patricia Sannit

Patricia Sannit - Artist of the month on Ceramics Now Magazine

Interview by Ileana Surducan for Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue Two

How did your experience in working on archeological sites in Jordan and Ethiopia influenced your work?

My work in Jordan and Ethiopia profoundly changed my work. I went to Jordan between my undergraduate degree and my graduate degree. At that point, I was already serious about clay, and although my early training had a functional emphasis (the well known American potter Warren Mackenzie was a teacher and influence), I had become more interested in sculpture. But my work had little focus and I was frustrated by what I saw as the triviality of my work. It didn’t seem to have a core or substance.

Before University, I had been an exchange student in Norway and had learned a lot about history, arts and culture there, but had not put it to any good use. However, when I went to Jordan, two things happened. I traveled all over the region - into Syria and Israel, and throughout Jordan, notable the amazing Petra. I was deeply impressed by the ancient culture and the design of the buildings and tombs and the handmade objects resonated with me. I understood finally that there was a connection between people and cultures and it was in a way manifested through the visual vocabulary around me. It related to the textiles of Scandinavia and the work that I had done as a kid. The desire to create some order, through geometry, on the natural world, and on roughly hewn stone and constructions seemed universal.

My other experience there that had a huge and lasting impact on me was the excavation itself. At Ain Ghazal, working in a “square” (archeological sites are frequently divided into precise squares so as to map out the location of a find onto three points in space) and seeing how the layers of the earth marked time and culture, hiding, or harboring, the evidence of past people was exciting to me. I recognized and felt awed by all of the people who had come before me. Ain Ghazal was first settled about 7250 B.C., during the so-called Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) period. The result of our excavation was the discovery of a diverse assemblage of symbols including tokens of many shapes, animal and human figurines, modeled human skulls, “monumental” statues and mural and floor paintings. My square had a beautiful floor painting of iron oxide on plaster. During the final days of the field season, I worked to uncover the floor. As a ceramic artist, discovering a plaster floor painted with iron oxide, the same Iron oxide that I used so often in my work, was a thrill. But more significantly, as I knelt, sweeping the dust from the floor, I felt a profound sense of connection to the women who had lived there 9000 plus years before. I knew that we had shared many of the same feelings and concerns; I felt connected and understood that there was a huge chain of humanity of which I was a part. I still get goose bumps thinking of it. And that sense of our common humanity is what still informs my work today.

My subsequent adventure was in Ethiopia. I am very fortunate to have married a man who works at what is called the “Lucy” site in the Afar region of Ethiopia. Lucy is an Australopithicus afarensis, and her species populated that part of Africa between 3 and 4 million years ago. She is pat of our species ancestry. As one scans the ground for fossils, walking in the same rough wadis where our earliest ancestors walked, the sense of our history coming to surface is very powerful. It’s a beautiful place, though drier now than it was when Lucy lived there. It is very quiet and empty, and potent with history.

Patricia Sannit Ceramics - Artist of the month on Ceramics Now Magazine
Patricia Sannit, Cradle, 2010, hand-built, carved and incised reclaimed clays, slip and stain, 21”x32”x12” - View Patricia’s works

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Annie Woodford - Spotlight, October 2012

SPOTLIGHT, October 2012: Annie Woodford

Annie Woodford - Spotlight on Ceramics Now Magazine

Interview by Ileana Surducan and Vasi Hîrdo for Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue Two

You take your inspiration from nature. You are not just making a superficial observation, but you conduct a research of the things hidden to the naked eye. Tell us more about the universe you have discovered through your explorations.

I am fascinated by the natural world in its widest sense and at all levels. An interest in the nature of time - the past, present and future has led me to investigate multiverse theory and hidden dimensions - concealed worlds. From there I began to examine nature on a microscopic and nano scale. I became fascinated by the concept of the unseen and rendering it seen.

One of the subjects I investigated was that of diatoms, especially fossil diatoms. Invisible to the naked eye, beautiful and structurally complex I discovered them to bevery significanting the field of paleoclimatology - they are an important indicator of climate change.

I like to select various aspects of the natural world and then examine them on both a macroscopic and microscopic level, considering them in terms of their relationship to time and how they relate to other parts of the universe.

[] Read the full interview in Ceramics Now - Issue Two

Intricate but also delicate, your work seems to be obtained through a very meticulous process. What materials and techniques do you use and how much time does it take to complete a new piece?

Porcelain is the clay I favor - I particularly like ‘Southern Ice White’ which was developed by the Australian ceramicist Les Blakebrough. In general, the works are handbuilt; occasionally I use slip in a free but controlled way, sometimes combining it with fine glass fibre. I like to push the material beyond its perceived boundaries. The characteristics of porcelain mean that it requires careful handling throughout the making process and control and accuracy with firing and cooling.

I often incorporate extraneous materials once the piece is fired such as metal, monofilament, fibre or horsehair. These elements add richness to the work.

A new piece can take up to two weeks to make, depending on its complexity and it can take a further week or two to construct and apply other elements. I work intuitively when I am making, drawing on my research and bringing all the experiences together.

[] Read the full interview in Ceramics Now - Issue Two

Annie Woodford Contemporary Ceramics, Ceramics Now Magazine
Annie Woodford, Circlet, 2009, Porcelain, copper, stainless steel, 24 x 24 x 24 cm
View Annie Woodford’s works

Both science and art are a way of looking at the surrounding environment. What do you think is their meeting point? What kind of form of knowledge is art?

I often find myself working with scientists on projects and I think the two disciplines have many aspects in common. They both help us to understand the world around us. They both rely on investigation and imagination – the ‘what if?’ principle.

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Cristina Popescu Russu - Romanian ceramic artist, October 2012

ROMANIAN CONTEMPORARY CERAMICS, October 2012: Cristina Popescu Russu

Cristina Popescu Russu - Romanian contemporary ceramics

Interview by Alexandra Mureşan for Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue Two

In 1975 you graduated Ceramics at the Nicolae Grigorescu Arts Institute in Bucharest. You have been active in this domain for over 35 years, all marked by a large number of exhibitions, as well as participations to international symposiums. How was this passion for ceramics born? Have you had any masters that marked your career?

In the Music & Fine Arts Highschool in Craiova, the teachers Şopov Cole Nicos, Ion Marineanu and Vasile Buz have inspired me a love for painting as well as for molding. I fell in love with our prehistoric ceramics and from then on I knew I would dedicate myself to this domain.  
In the N. Grigorescu Arts Institute in Bucharest I had the privilege of meeting remarkable teachers: Lucia Ioan Neagu, Costel Badea. I learned something from each of them, namely to learn as much arts history as possible, to investigate, to experiment and to be creative at the same time, to not plagiarize, to know that talent had no significance without daily work, and that only the well made work, the passionate one - can lead to performance.

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Arina Ailincai - Romanian ceramic artist, October 2012

ROMANIAN CONTEMPORARY CERAMICS, October 2012: Arina Ailincăi

Arina Ailincai - Romanian ceramic artist, Romanian contemporary ceramics special feature

Interview by Vasi Hîrdo for Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue Two
Translation by Anca Sânpetrean

What was your first contact with ceramics?

The first meeting with ceramic took place when I entered the university, as I decided to take the admission exam for the Ceramics Department. The reason for this option was the liberal reputation held by the Ceramics Department, mainly due to the young teachers of various formations, who were encouraging the free investigation subordinated to an “interdisciplinary” that at that time was quite attractive.

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Marta Jakobovits - Romanian ceramic artist, October 2012

ROMANIAN CONTEMPORARY CERAMICS, October 2012: Marta Jakobovits

Marta Jakobovits - Romanian ceramic artist

Interview by by Ileana Surducan and Alexandra Mureşan for Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue Two

What message or emotion do you want to convey to the observer through your works? Is your artistic undertake based on a certain idea or is it more of a searching process and experimentation?

For me, this process is never conscious, programmed or preconceived. It is more of a constant experiment that is absolutely instinctive. My only guides on this path are those primal, undefined sensations generated by touching and feeling the malleable and permissive clay.
Only afterwards I come to realize with wonder that a kind of actualization takes place - a humble identification, like a translation of some archaic, immemorial message. When I stop and ”read” the pieces that I created, and I analyze the way I created them, I marvel and realize that an actualization was already in me, that that translation was made through me.

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Kwok-Pong Bobby Tso - Spotlight, October 2012

SPOTLIGHT, October 2012: Kwok-Pong Bobby Tso

Kwok-Pong Bobby Tso - Spotlight on Ceramics Now Magazine

Interview by Ileana Surducan for Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue Two

Your work evokes artificial landscapes and strange architectural agglomerations. What is your source of inspiration?

Most of my work inspired by man-made objects; something like a view of building blocks from the sky, transformer boxes out in the field, and strange formations on the roof. Recently I started to add more abstracted objects, like the connection parts of an exhaust fan, pipe or even inside a lock. I am inspired by something that is recognizable but has an uncertain function.

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Yin&Yang Parisienne Mix for Ceramics Now, October 2012

Fragile As Porcelain is the title of the first from a series of specially crafted mixes for Ceramics Now readers. Made by Yin&Yang Parisienne, the sets will be available to listen in our Connections page and on her Mixcloud page. One every month.

Download the mix / Follow Yin&Yang Parisienne on Facebook.

✖ Tracklist:
01. Hiatus - Foreigner (00:00 - 02:41)
02. Mazzy Star - Into Dust (Inertia Remix) (02:41 - 08:10)
03. Lamb - Angelica (08:10 - 11:37)
04. Bon Iver - Skinny Love (Das Kapital Rerub) (11:37 - 16:20)
05. BoyChild - Counting What Ifs (featuring Soundmouse) (16:20 - 20:27)
06. Baths - Iniuria Palace (20:27 - 24:44)
07. Jamie Woon - Wayfaring Stranger (Stitch Mix) (24:44 - 28:35)
08. Monarchy - You Don’t Want To Dance With Me (featuring Britt Love) (28:35 - 32:03)
09. Dusky - Grain (32:03 - 36:06)
10. Moby - Porcelain (36:06 - 40:04)
11. Cujo - Fatass Joint (40:04 - 45:48)
12. Jun Miyake - Lillies Of The Valley (45:48 - 51:15)

Bogdan Teodorescu - Romanian ceramic artist, October 2012

ROMANIAN CONTEMPORARY CERAMICS, October 2012: Bogdan Teodorescu

Bogdan Teodorescu - Romanian ceramic artist, Romanian contemporary ceramics

Interview by Vasi Hîrdo for Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue Two

You are a versatile visual artist who works in mediums such as painting, collage, video art, but also ceramics. In the process of creating a new work, do you allow yourself the freedom to change the medium of expression?

Versatility it’s not entirely a positive feature, at least not for an artist. To be consequent could be in many cases a better option. Up to this moment, my flexibility didn’t create a strong image of myself, but instead surrounded me with an aura of strangeness and ambiguity.

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Anti-Utopias / Sabin Bors - EXTRA!, October 2012

EXTRA!, October 2012: Anti-Utopias / Sabin Borş

Anti-Utopias contemporary art platform

Interview by Vasi Hîrdo for Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue Two

You hold functions such as curator, associate editor and columnist for different magazines, and you recently initiated a contemporary art platform titled Anti-Utopias. Since you don’t have any formal art education, how did you become interested in contemporary art?

Art has always been one of my main interests, ever since I was a kid, and though I did not follow any formal art education, I did follow an MA in philosophy and culture where some of the major topics we discussed have been Art, Institutions and Cultural Policies, The Artist’s Statute in Post-Modern Culture, or Contemporary Perspectives Upon Culture. I also follow a PhD with a thesis on the future of museums, in terms of art, policies, architecture. Throughout the years I’ve kept a close contact with art in my readings and references, and I think coming from the “outside” is actually an advantage because it allows me to view art in a broader context and integrate its discourse differently. At the same time, I am also aware of the two perils with philosophers discussing art: on the one hand, they run the risk of subsuming art to a philosophical speech; on the other hand, they can feed art with concepts that only deepen the dilemmas of contemporary art and thus contribute to its fractures. When I started Anti-Utopias, my main concern was to create a thematic platform bearing in mind these two perils precisely, but also the theoretical abundance where art in general claims itself from. 

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In memoriam Eugenia Pop / Interview

ROMANIAN CONTEMPORARY CERAMICS, October 2012

In memoriam Eugenia Pop
Eugenia Pop lived and worked in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, where she graduated from the Ceramics Department of “Ion Andreescu” Arts Institute in 1971. Over the course of 40 years, she had exhibited in many countries and has been awarded for her career by the Romanian Government (Order of Cultural Merit) and the Fine Arts Union.

Eugenia Pop Romanian ceramic artist

Two days after our meeting in February, Eugenia Pop went to the Copăceni alms house, near Turda, to read in peace a book by Zhi Gang Sha. She wanted to learn how to communicate better with her guardian angel. She told us that the spirit must be cleaned more frequently.

We thank Jeni Pop from our hearts and promise to carry her optimism out in the world.

Interview by Alexandra Mureşan and Vasi Hîrdo for Ceramics Now Magazine, Issue Two
February 2012

How did the fascination for ceramics started?

I graduated Ceramics at the Fine Arts Highschool in Cluj. In the twelfth grade I had an excessive curiosity to do work as much as possible, that’s why I chose ceramics. I was a colleague with Arina Ailincăi for 6 years. We were also six in the department. Our personalities were very different, and they remained the same. A sculptor inoculated me the idea of versions. He gave me a theme, a ceramic piece in an architectural environment. After a few sketches, he told me to do more versions. I didn’t like the idea – why make more versions when the first one was good enough? But, if the master told me, I had to do it. I did lots of versions and sketches, from bad to worse. He chose from the first two, and I remained very sad because I worked so hard on so many. After a while, the seed sprouted in my mind. I was at a Communist party meeting, and I got very bored. I had my sketchbook at me and I was doing all sorts of sketches and drawings. The expression was changing with little diversity if terms of form. I showed the sketches to my professor. It remained my method over the years.

Now I stopped doing more versions on a theme. I read books, for example those written by Rudolf Steiner, and I make illustrations on the pages. When reading a book twice, the images speak to me a lot more and I feel the text very differently when it’s illustrated, just like a plastic commentary.

What are your main sources of inspiration?

I broke up with the illustrative image of the exterior form. I adhered to the archetypal forms, which are interior forms of the soul, forms that kids use when drawing, but also used in the antic culture.

Mihai Oroveanu said “Look how monumental your works are,” even if they were very small. Dan Hăliucă said the contrary: “That’s how it should be – plenty and small.” I used this thing with plenty and small a lot, because that’s how the image of the soul is. The soul is very capacious. From it’s ampleness you can make plenty and small.

A moment of crystallization appeared when I found my personality – when I said that this is how I want to express myself. It was the humanity theme, the man. The mother man, the old man, the child man. Mother Earth. These are themes that I feel I synthesized.
When I was young, my mother used to call me “little golden thorn” – she couldn’t tell me that I was not right, but I was also very determined. I was telling the truth.

Eugenia Pop - Mother Earth, ceramics
Eugenia Pop, Mother Earth, 1985, Soft porcelain

What is your dearest part in elaborating a new work?

Each part has its own magic. The first one is sketching the idea and choosing the right drawing, then follows the modeling and making the negative. After that, the fascination of the firing starts. It is like when a mother gives birth – she doesn’t know how the child will look like or what color his eyes will be. It is just like that after the firing, when you remain charmed by an object, and you say to yourself that this is mine! – its color has changed and it shrank. After you inspect it for a while, you adopt it or not. Sometimes you have to say I’m sorry – this is not mine.

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