The Cocta Terra exhibition presents works by 15 artists from Greece, France, England and America who have worked, from the 1950s until today, almost exclusively with ceramic art and materials from nature.
The exhibition examines the boundaries between utilitarian and sculptural ceramics for a total of 54 objects such as candlesticks, jars, mirrors, egg cases, plates, sculptures and wall works that contrast with a flower arrangement by Dimitra Skandalis “Moments of Silence” (2022) .
The exhibition starts with a mirror by the Argonauts and three Accolay masks (1945-1992), works by the first post-war potters.
Frédérique Bourguet and Isabelle Ferlay, the two French potters of the collective Argonautes, opened a pottery studio in 1953 in Vallauris, the metropolis of ceramic art at the time, then known for its red clay. The mirror in Cocta Terra, with the red soil of the French region, is an excellent example of a handmade object, which while originally created for use, is now considered a collector’s item.
At the same time in France, Christian Dior discovers the Accolay (1945-1992) and asks them to create clay buttons for Dior’s next collection, “New Look” (1946). The four Frenchmen soon break away from conventional objects to make their own art objects, the ceramic masks.
The artist Maria Vlanti (b. 1952) has been working with clay since 1978. A total of 10 of her works are presented in the exhibition: from jars from the 1990s, to abstract sculptures that exceed two meters. These two sculptures from the series “Epifanta”, were exhibited in the Medusa Art Gallery (2012) and are characterized by contrast. Works with large size but perfect structure, indefinite shapes but geometric harmony. With the big white and reddish figures, they push the form and the space into dialogue.
In the same manner, the ceramics of Maria Vlanti are married with the installation of flowers by Dimitra Skandali (b.1969). The two artists open a discussion between form, shadow and space. Known for her site-specific works with materials selected from nature and the seabed, such as algae, and dried flowers, Dimitra Skandali is the only Cocta Terra artist who does not touch clay. The curtain of wild carrot, amaranth and geranium reminds us that flowers are not collected only to be placed in vases.
The five sculptures of Marion Inglesi (b. 1961) in earth tones (white, gray, khaki, beige) refer to elements of the human body, hence their organic existence. These works, part of the installation in the exhibition “Static / Ecstatic or The Stone of Sibyl” (Athens, Ekfrasi-Gianna Grammatopoulou Gallery, December 2021), are reminiscent of a sexual landscape. The mobility of the five clay sculptures presented in i-D CONCEPTSTORES, balance with time in one place, like a stone.
Inspired by nature are the ceramics of Venetia Sacret Young (b. 1982), Melina Xenakis (b. 1989) and Kallia Panopoulou (b. 1989). Sacret Young, having left behind New York, is inspired by the Greek environment, collects shells that she uses in the construction of terracotta molds. The ceramics of Kallia Panopoulou and Melina Xenakis refer to volcanic rocks.
Elina Belou (b. 1988) and Camille Romagnani (b. 1992) experiment with the limits of ceramic as a material. Belou operates between France and Greece, having the opportunity to experiment with different soils like these of Rhodes, Southern and Western France. She explores form, texture and soil. The designs are simple and sometimes refer to folk vases. The sculpture “Doors and weight” confirms the constant search for matter, having used 3 different materials (stoneware clay, collection of wild clay and porcelain) in a single work. She collaborated with the designer Laure Jaffuel (b. 1987) in the design and construction of a two-tone ceramic wall “composition I”.
While, Camille Romagnani originating from France and China, chose to deal with clay because it allows her to combine in a unique creation the technique, the form, the color, the material and the design.
Natalia Manta (b. 1994) experiments by alternating in her work with the use of different materials such as metal, photosensitive chemicals, video projections and of course clay. At the heart of her visual research are the concepts of memory, time and myth. She participates in Cocta Terra with the “Ultrasound emission machine” (2022) project between sculpture and lighting. The six earthenware dishes dismantle their usefulness and tell a story each, corresponding to that of a design on paper.
The geometric patterns on the utensils of Mirka Drapaniotou (b.1971) and the folklore teapot of Korina Roumelioti (b.1978), remind us that the ancient art of ceramics is more relevant than ever. Despite the use of technology in our daily lives, this manual art is still in the spotlight. Ceramics push artists towards independence, having no need of any tools except their bare hands.
Accolay co. 1945-1992 (André Boutaud, Slavik Palley, Louis Dangon & Raude) Argonautes co. (Frédérique Bourguet (1925-1997) & Isabelle Ferlay (b. 1917)) Elina Belou (b.1988) Elina Belou (b.1988) & Laure Jaffuel (b.1987) Maria Vlanti (b.1952) Mirka Drapaniotou (b .1971) Marion Inglesi (b.1961) Natalia Manta (b.1994) Kallia Panopoulou (b.1989) Camille Romagnani (b.1992) Korina Roumelioti (b.1978)
Venetia Sacret Young (b.1982) Dimitra Skandali (b.1969)
Tessa Wolfe Murray (born 1950)
Melina Xenakis (b.1989)
Exhibition opening: Thursday 2 June 2022, 18.00.
Exhibition duration until July 2, 2022.
Opening hours: Monday, Wednesday, Saturday 10.00 -18.00. Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, 10.00-21.00
i-D ProjectArt: Kanari 12, Kolonaki, 10674, tel. +30 2103221801.