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was the period of Artigas and Cumella in Spain, of Lambercy and Chapallaz in Switzerland, dominated by the Oriental tradition, mainly Japanese, through the writings of Bernard Leach, but also Chinese. When he left school he worked in advertising for eight years, which broadened his knowledge. Thanks to the traditional way in which he was educated, he considers knowledge a duty, but he recognizes that what is most difficult is to find oneself. At work, one must digest the information provided by personal experience or one’s store of culture. His education was enriched by comparisons. He considered it essential to go to exhibitions and acquire a cultural grounding. He cites the prehistoric roots of ceramics, when its function was heightened because it served the daily needs of people. He draws on ancient Egypt, admires the Cycladian idols, the works of the Mayas and Incas, the world of the Romanesque churches. Naturally, he recognizes the importance of the Far East, of Korea and Japan, and remembers a 17th-century Shino bowl from Japan and a Bible by the contemporary artist Takako Araki. However, his references range far wider than examples of ancient or contemporary ceramics. He admires Mondrian and Rothko and waxes enthusiastic over the plaster figures by Henry Moore in a Canadian museum. He also pays his respects to the work of the artisan potters, with their rigour and pride in their work, and regrets having seen an exhibition in Galicia that placed modern potters and old pieces side by side for comparison, showing up a glaring difference in quality in favour of the past. He emphasizes the joy of going to a museum and finding humble objects that are well made for a simple function and constantly thanks the creator, anonymous or recognized. He makes an effort to visit numerous ceramics shows and major exhibitions outside Spain, as there is little of this in Valencia.

He takes part in competitions such as Faenza, as these are a means of subjecting his work to comparison. He points out how important it is to travel, as seeing other approaches and enriching one’s own personal experience aids self-development. That is why the world assemblies of the International Ceramics Academy (of which he is a Board member) are so important. He recalls moving or stimulating meetings in Toledo, the Czech Republic, Turkey, Japan and the United States - a country with no history, he says. The symposia in which he has taken part, in Finland and in the United States, have taught him to recognize when works have meaning and when they do not, to discover people and objects and to practise an asceticism that draws on his own inspiration. For Enric Mestre, ceramics is a means of expression that demands clear ideas and requires one to limit oneself. He starts with an idea and attempts to make its manufacture faithful to the image he wishes to produce. It is this path that interests him. However, herein lies the paradox, for he is not a purely conceptual artist. His demand for control does not destroy his intuition. His starting point is what he sees, what he experiences in relation to the natural world around him, the “huerta” countryside. The rectangular outlines of its fields inspire his plaques and engravings, which unquestionably present reflections of this Valencian landscape, these images of fields with the canals and ditches that water them, these square houses with small windows, this scenery and architecture, reconstituted through shapes seen in the mind’s eye and through all the techniques he has mastered. By turning the houses that surrounded him into models, little by little he arrived at abstract forms. In this way, he set up a double play of intuition and construction. He defines his progress as a great deal of serious work. To appreciate how unceasingly he works,

one needs to leaf through the numerous sketchbooks and drawings that go hand in hand with his studio work. He then looks for the simplest form that suffices to express his message. The notion of control is present throughout. However, it is difficult to define the process when he is at work: is the square a part of the idea or is it an imposition caused by a reference? He is aware of adding something to nature in this way, but spectators of his works are brought face to face with reality. After his ceramics training, when he threw numerous pots, covered in glazes, he abandoned the potter’s wheel and its hollow forms and tried sculpture, without very clear initial ideas. He progressed from thrown forms to other things. He has been executing murals since 1976 and continues to paint. He began to use plaques, engraving them with inscriptions in the form of striations or writing, and gave his glazes a gentler lustre, but above all he confined himself to simple forms. Later he returned to three-dimensional objects but abandoned the concept of sculpture, using quite large plaques that retain the influence of his painting to construct small spaces as though he were an architect. His concern with form sways his use of colour. It is the reason why he abandoned glazes in favour of engobes, because glazes form a thick layer that annuls the rigid line of the forms whereas engobes give a thinner layer that makes the edges visible. He goes to the length of firing the pieces from twice to four times to obtain the right colour. This refined technique is there to express a message. The time comes when technique must be forgotten in order to transmit this message. The mastery of a craft is a form of liberty, but it has to carry a spiritual charge. At work, everything must be forgotten if the world to be created is to be discovered. He does not succumb to easy solutions. He says that he does not like pieces that are too

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Profile for Javier Mestre

Enric mestre; construir formas, fingir espacios  

Catálogo de la exposición "Enric Mestre; construir fomas, fingir espacios" en la Sala Parpalló de Valencia en 1999. Enric Mestre; escultor,...

Enric mestre; construir formas, fingir espacios  

Catálogo de la exposición "Enric Mestre; construir fomas, fingir espacios" en la Sala Parpalló de Valencia en 1999. Enric Mestre; escultor,...

Profile for mestrebel
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