CERAMIC SEDUCTION

CERAMIC SEDUCTION

An everyday object, with a utilitarian vocation, the plate is also a playground for the artists. From the early days, dishes have already been diverted from their primary function and transformed into a historiated artifact that was hanging on the wall. The illustrator and ceramist Polly Fern, revives this practice from her sweet pink house in Norfolk. Utensils, tea sets, vases; all the objects available at her place, are narrative as well as utilitarian, with pastoral motifs and her own phantasmagoria, under which she imagines a sequence of real or imaginary images and brings them to life with pottery. “Since I was a little girl, I have always been fascinated by old objects.  When I movedinto my new home, I had fun furnishing it with atypical elements, mixing old and new. The shapes and patterns of ancient ceramics feed my work. Antiquities speak, they tell stories,” she says. Talking about her inspirations she adds, “My canary companions have always inspired my work. They are a recurring motif of my creations and my drawings.”

Today, in Paris and elsewhere, institutional tableware is often seen arranged with objects of ceramic art: sandstone, porcelain or earthenware, mostly painted by hand. Although, ceramics have their beginnings dating back to antiquity, well before the nineteenth century. Even the Elysée ordered Fragile House from a series of porcelain cups swinged by Safia Ouares. Illustrator Safia Ouares, also chose porcelain from Limoges, gold flakes and plant motifs for the creation of the presidential cups. Marc Armitano Domingo thinks no less. A violator of the gamba genre, he applies baroque, parsimonious, instinctive techniques of ornamentation to English porcelain plates or cups. Trills, mordants or gruppetto become orchids, magnolias, bees or ladybugs in a brilliantly quaint style. Beyond the decorum, the phenomenon of clay moulding and painting illustrates a momentum of the artistic sphere towards materials, and means of expression which are more organic. Other categories of ceramic art, such as terracotta or sandstone, lend themselves to the thrust. “On clay, we can not work in a way most people think we do,” explained the French painter Inès Longevial. “One paints powder on a biscuit and it immediately drinks the colour. We can not edit it. And then, between the hues that we add and the cooking, there is a huge difference in the result. I like this element of surprise. We can not control everything. But that is the magic of this art, I believe. These small defects, are what makes the object so unique. Owing to this, I would now like to make sculptures with ceramics.”

Chitman Kanwar Ahuja

Chitman Kanwar Ahuja is a feature writer at L'Officiel India. She is a silver jewellery hoarder and an aesthete of all arts. You can find her unraveling new stories day in and day out.