QandA with the artists in Fire it Up: Ceramic as Material in Contemporary Sculpture

In conjunction with the exhibition Fire it Up: Ceramic as Material in Contemporary Sculpture, the participating artists were asked a few questions about this specific material and their approach to artistic production.

Fire It Up takes place at Dienstgebäude, Töpferstr. 24, Zurich, May 30-June 30, 2013.  Vernissage, May 30, 7-10pm

les modernistes_1

QandA with Aubry/Broquard

OS: Do you see yourselves as sculptors/artists or ceramicists/potters?  What do you think are the differences between these terms?

AB: We see ourselves as artists. Potters usually make functional objects while artists do not.

 OS: How do you produce your objects?  What is the process you undertake?

AB: We work with a professional ceramist. Either we have an idea and we realize it with the help of the ceramist, or while working we discover something new and try to formulate the concept.

OS: Why do you think that ceramic has had such a bad reputation in modern and contemporary art?

AB: We think the problem is that ceramics (the activity) is a very popular hobby, it’s for grandma or for children. Curators think this is not serious. Ceramic (the material) also has this “natural” feel from the 60s, hippy-style –  it’s old school. But we think that those days are gone.  We have enough distance from those times, so ceramics have become very popular again. A lot of artists are rediscovering this technique.

OS: How have you come to this material in your practice and what attracts you to it?  Why do you work with it?

AB: First we had this idea to make jugs, so we did some preliminary trials at the studio of our parents. But the jugs ended up always braking. So we decided to pay a professional ceramist to produce a bigger series.  We like ceramic beacause it’s shiny and valuable! It will stay nice forever, like a stone. We also like the softness of the material. It’s like making drawings but in 3 dimensions.

OS Do you feel that your use of the material is essential to understanding your work, or in your case it’s incidental, more of a practical solution?

AB: Ceramic is a part of our work.

OS:  In general, do the technical demands of ceramic take away from the artist’s focus on a conceptual approach to the work?  Or do you see the technical and the conceptual expressed equally through the form?

AB: It’s true that a lot of ceramists focus on the technical part. We figured this out while taking part in a ceramics symposium. For example, the participants there totally ignored the display of the work. For us the form (idea) is more important than the technique. We prefer to adapt the technique to the idea.

 OS: Have you encountered challenges in exhibiting your ceramic work in the contemporary art context? If so, why do you think that is?  If not, what has contributed to this inclusion?

AB: Yes, for us the problem is to make a good installation, not just nice objects. The entire installation, the general impression is important, not the separate objects. We also don’t try to make it “correct”, but we like to keep a dilettante aspect. For us ceramic is a tool, not a goal.

Editing, proofreading and translation done by Olga Stefan Consulting

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