There have been some lazy days this week – a combination of post Christmas lethargy, overeating and a serious case of man-flue causing my darling husband to occupying most of the liveable space we currently have. In the end I decided joining him under the duvet was the easiest option. The great plus point here was that I have been able to catch up on some reading. A friend lent me a whole stack of back issues of Ceramic Review a while ago and I have finally got round to enjoying them. How very different to today’s glossy features! It has been lovely to get stuck into some quite academic articles about such things as Terra Sigilata and some really interesting profiles of the likes of John Higgins.
What a great artist! I love his sculptural pieces with their fabulous dry decoration using slips, oxides and on-glazes and curved shapes. I also feel an affinity to them given their makers love of digging about in waste pits!
In the same edition I also found an article by Jenny Beavan about geological forces and the link between ceramic art and human existence. Fascinating! In it she talks about the work of Joseph Beuys and his views on the interaction between science, art, nature and society and of Peter Voulkos who’s work reflects the violence of geological forces and she included some of her own work, which has long fascinated and enthralled me and a long section about Satoru Hoshino.
But one of the artists was a name that I did not recognise, Jacques Kaufmann, and I feel compelled to investigate him further. There is no excuse for not knowing of this man. He is only the current President of the International Academy of Ceramics!
I am intrigued by his interest in the relationship of human origins and geological processes and I want to know more! First impressions are that his work is rather controlled and yet I found a piece by him which seems bely this thought. It reads: ‘The question of the legitimacy of forms is recurrent in my work. One of my hypotheses is to think that all energy put into a material, first in an intuitive way, than fully structured as one goes along, is the generating principle of the work. In order to achieve this goal, my gestures are simple and accurate and are generated by the material itself. What is at stake is that the form is invented as a concrete experience of a relationship. For me, the imaginary is originated in the material, in its qualities and in its poetical energy. I belong to a line of artists who questions the limits: those of the materials as well as those of the cultures I meet’. I can relate to that! Beavan talks about how Kaufmann’s work begins with a ‘letting go, a relaxation of the will.’ Now that seems like a great idea. So often I find myself fighting with myself over the making of a piece. There is this tension with wanting something perfect which is not perfect. It isn’t easy and it can’t happen if I am tense. So beginning with a letting go would be a fabulous idea. Maybe it’s time to take up yoga!