techniques and materials, which Anna De Piano revisits in the collection of objects “Pane colorato”, the outcome of a new product-quality concept for new languages and new ways of use. Aside from bread, other techniques are also revived, such as “braiding” and weaving. In parallel to these Sardinia-based experiences, perhaps due to the fact that she is a woman, Anna De Piano is particularly dedicated to solving design problems related with domestic products: hence we find many successful objects related with food, in particular tools and objects that are useful at home.Her works are so delicate and intense, and capable of solving concrete problems, but at the same time they are dense with poetry. Electric Vases (page 54) He cut them out, he “contaminated” them and now he has also wired them. They are the vases with which Marco Silombria marks a decade of rather special raids in the world of ceramics. Indeed the first vases by this Turinese artist were created in 1990. Or better, one could call them “non-vases” since he submits them to a systematic “violation”, perpetrating on their shapes engravings and holes that thwart any possible traditional use. With respect to the relationship between Silombria and the ceramic art, a few years ago Enzo Biffi Gentili spoke of recreation, highlighting both of the meanings the term suggests. This “recreational” course, which has often resulted in the exaltation of a “pure” vase shape, took place for Silombria in the mestizo sign language he has been using for years to narrate the longing for the sublime and its inevitable failure in the consumer society. Silombria is aware of this and, starting from this slippery terrain, has ventured to seek a “possible” beauty. His citation of art history appears to be charged with allusions to contemporaneity that do not come from the “top” shelves of culture, but from a low-profile aesthetics. He has long since been attracted by the degraded evidence of an ornamental culture sacrificed on the altar of modernism. His picking up themes or stylistic elements of the past has always walked hand in hand with a healthy ironical behaviour. All this is well illustrated in his significant “non-ceramist” experience with the “non-vases”. Clay decoration, this too just as heretical due to the frequent use of cold-painted colours, has been replaced by synthetic “additives” that appear more and more frequently. However, in the last few years, the ceramic research of Silombria seems to have mostly been oriented towards the
vase. The specific functions of amphorae – to contain, preserve and, from an archaeological viewpoint, pass down – suggested a further use: transformation into “semiofori”, into supports for signs and symbols of contemporary iconography, organised by Silombria as an index of a personal and very select inventory. Silombria’s vases thus appear to be seeking a function. The ceramic “samples” on display at this exhibition are no exception. The eight vases, presented alongside just as many preparatory studies, are dedicated to a single subject: a set of fluttering angels inspired by the admirable stuccoes of Serpotta, great Sicilian decorator of the 18th century, presented in various versions, from polished to ancient décor from Savona. The Art of Glass (page 56) Wisely guided by their father Ugo (art master), Piercarlo, Ambrogio and Maurilio Paci, master glassmakers of Seregno since 1959, have set up a glassworks divided into three specialised production sectors: Italvetrine, the industrial division and the art division. The Italvetrine production offers more than 300 standard items of showcases for furnishing shops and showrooms. Accurate design and high-quality materials transform the showcase into an actual promotional tool, but also into an elegant and sophisticated furniture piece, capable of holding and showing off antique and precious objects. The industrial division, equipped with advanced computer-controlled machi-nery, produces an extremely wide range of glass items for any need of the furniture,mechanic, building, automobile and electronic industries. However, the feather in the cap of the company is still the art division, dedicated to working and decorating glass. Drawing on the huge heritage and experience of their father, the Paci brothers have taken this division to the highest peaks of the glass-making art. His promotional showcases, mirrors, tables, art windows, are created to confer prestige and originality to the most varied interiors, both in Italy and around theworld. INVENTION OF TRADITION IN VIETRI SUL MARE IN THE THIRTIES (page 60) The artistic craftsman is made of subtle weawings, magic harmonies, writings, loose letters to intercept : this is one of the tasks of our magazine.
Gennaro Borrelli, eminent historian of Nativity Scene art of the 1700s in Naples, sent a letter to his friend (his and ours, of the collaborating magazine), Eduardo Alamaro, regarding the felicitous finding and exhibition of a majolica nativity scene made by Irene Kowaliska between 1931 and 1933 in Vietri sul Mare. We are publishing a few excerpts because it is much more than a review: it is a living lesson of art applied to the area of Campania. Eduardo, my dearest, thank you for the exhibition of the beautiful and miraculously rediscovered nativity scene from the 1930s, made by Irene Kowaliska. You wrote, which is typical of you, in armony with the “rustic poetry” that emanates from this truly marvellous majolica nativity scene of Vietri. First and foremost I would like to emphasize that I.K.’s enchanting set of pasturielli (shepherds) exhibited by you – reduced to the canons of our local Cristianity – has nothing to do with German or Austrian Cristianity, though I.K. came from those places. As a whole, all the small glazed sculptures by I.K. are a “marvel of marvels” in majolica, though among them the real “Sheperd of Marvels” of folk nativity scenes (as well as other styles of nativity scenes) of the Neapolitan school is not present. However, I.K.’s nativity figurines also represent the history of a sensitive soul in a particular moment of her life, in the faraway 1930s in Vietri. I was pleased to see that in note 15 you pointed out the Procida/Cilento majolica “combination”, whose nativity scenes were so admired in 1973 at L’Elisse gallery of Naples, where I would have gladly purchased one of those magnificent nativity scenes. In this texte you work on the modernly old-fashioned form of the nativity scene and the artistic craft. The novelty of this nativity scene of Vietri which emerges from the past is “environmental”. I.K. in Vietri at the beginning of the 1930s was technically – and fortunately – a “dilettante” of majolica (who created majolica for pleasure). Therefore she belongs to another cultural environment that is capable of understanding that “diletto” (pleasure), and goes above the head of the hierarchies of the place.She compensates for the technical needs by creating precious, first-time works, of love, full of refined schemesschemes, covered by a strong varnish that highlights her modern modelling, propitious, made in blocks, fabulously real, characterized by a new contempo-rary poetry, new social classes and class.
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