Ceramics are intended to contain something. The ancient jars made by the first farmers-ceramicists held grain, liquids and food, were used for cooking and helped ensure a better quality of life. They also contained symbols and mementos for the ultimate journey. These archaic materials were long ago replaced by new, more durable, more versatile and especially less fragile materials.
The ceramics on show here are also a kind of homage to these ancient artefacts and their history. New contents were prepared for them: secret words and secret glances, affectionate flights and wood nests, villages, suns and clouds on earthy roofs, enchanted women, marvellous pots and imagined countries. Yet there’s more: queens ruling dens and roots, custodians of night skies, animals quietly gazing at us, stoves as warm as memories, bowls resembling courtyards. Travel your roads, climb the steps and enter through their tiny doors.
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The dinner of one hundred bowls
Here they are, then, in all their variegated splendour: pot-bellied in keeping with the finest traditions, low and cylindrical like saucepans, tall and narrow in the middle like pharmacy jars, turned at the wheel or dove-tailed with evident finger-marks, and even with unusual frontal concavities resembling sea caverns. With handles from time to time resembling ears or hands on hips, as in the most classic Etruscan funerary vases.
On this occasion, it should be made quite clear – if there were any need – that we are talking about items that it would be as inappropriate to define as “earthenware pots” as it would to call Pinocchio “a piece of wood”, since they are evidently creatures having their own lives, moulded in the hands of the artist-creator with an already formed personality and, one may be certain, often very different to initial intentions. And in fact, the Ladies we have seen over the years ruling stars, moons in all their phases and everything in creation with an imperturbable and rather blasé detachment, now seem to have acquired an unexpected vivacity in contact with their new and exciting reality.
Riccardo Biavati was born in Ferrara on 14 February 1950. He took a diploma at the local Institute of Art and at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna (in Pictorial Decoration). From 1977 until 2007, he taught Pictorial Disciplines at the “Dosso Dossi” Institute of Art in Ferrara. In his studio in Via Brasavola 28, he works on ceramic sculptures and graphics; the workshop and showroom in Via Vignatagliata 39 is where he takes care of the artistic direction of Bottega delle Stelle.