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
QandA with Maude Schneider
OS: Do you see yourself as a sculptor/artist or ceramicist/potter? What do you think are the differences between these terms?
MS: I see myself as a ceramicist-artist. Ceramicist for the material that I use but artist for the meaning that I imbue my works with. The term of potter refers to one whose objects are functional.
OS: How do you produce your objects? What is the process you undertake?
MS: The works that I create are produced through moulding. I reproduce everyday objects which I then transform, modifying them until I give them a different meaning.
OS: Why do you think that ceramic has had such a bad reputation in modern and contemporary art?
MS: Ceramic is a very ancient art, however it’s very little understood. Clay is a base from which one can start to make forms that are very different from each other. It’s used for table wares, construction, but also as an industrial material or for medical equipment. Its usage in art is not very widespread nor acknowledged. I would say that the material doesn’t necessarily have a bad reputation, but rather that it’s associated too much with antiquity or the utilitarian.
OS: How have you come to this material in your practice and what attracts you to it? Why do you work with it?
MS: Clay has a very precious and fine facet. It’s a living material, malleable, elegant, sensual, but also inert, rigid and cold. It’s contradictory, complicated, capricious, intelligent, varied. This material engages the physical and the mental. Through these characteristics, it teaches us humility, patience, and the unforeseen.
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?
MS: Yes, the material is essential to my work as its particularities are an inherent part of my technical and conceptual approach.
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?
MS: No, I don’t adapt my ideas to the technical limitations of the material, but I do sometimes add other types of materials.
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?
MS: I never tried to create works that fit specifically into contemporary art. I am simply presented with exhibition opportunities that have permitted my works to be integrated into various contexts.
Originally in French. Editing, proofreading and translation done by Olga Stefan Consulting