Claudi CasanovasMatter and Origin. Ceramics and engravings

March 08, 2023 / April 21, 2023

Matter and Origin is a journey through the work of the ceramicist Claudi Casanovas i Sarsanedas, from 2013 to the present. The artist’s works will be accompanied by other pieces that complement the exhibition and encourage dialogue and reflection. For example, it will be possible to see the work of the ceramicist Josep Llorenç i Artigas and the Noucentista sculptor Enric Casanovas. In addition to a 16th century altarpiece by Adriaen Isenbradt, sculptures by Manolo Hugué, paintings by Joan Ponç and Antoni Tàpies, and engravings by Henry Moore and Eduardo Chillida.

In the words of Mònica Ramon, “Chance is a constant in the work of Claudi Casanovas; there are some heavy forms, with gravity, and with totally static shapes.” Something visible in the pieces New Moon, Pomonas, The Quiet Ones, Imaginary Garden and Waxing Crescent”. The curator of the exhibition explains the meaning of its name: “Matter refers to earth, fire, air and water, which are the four elements in the world of alchemy. […] On the other hand, Origin refers to the universe, origin of the individual. From the life of galaxies to embryonic germination.”

Claudi Casanovas i Sarsanedas (Barcelona, 1956) is the most internationally acclaimed contemporary Catalan ceramist, originary from the lands of Olot and is a regenerator of the art of ceramics; his work is based on constant experimentation with earth, with the mixture of clays. As an artist he is attracted above all by the materials that are created in large pieces and are produced by chance, in the form of cracks and porosities, and where the mark of the imprint, the stain of ash, is clearly apparent.

A friend and collaborator of the renowned Japanese ceramist Ryoji Koie, he has won prizes such as the Prize of the 43rd edition of the International Ceramic Art Contest of Faenza (Italy) in 1985, the Grand Prix of the Vallauris Biennale (France) in 1986 or the Grand Prize at the III International Ceramic Competition in Mino (Japan) in 1992. His works are present in museums and collections around the world, including the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the National Gallery of Australia, the Musée de la Céramique de Sèvres (France), the Ceramic Museum Seto in Japan or the Museo Internazionale delle Ceramiche de Faenza, in Italy. In addition, his work has been exhibited in galleries around the world such as Galerie Capazza and Galerie Du Don du Fel (France), Galerie Lejonet in Stockholm, Gallery Koyonagi in Tokyo, Garth Clark Gallery in New York, Galerie Hélène Porée in Paris or the Erskine Hall & Coe Gallery in London, among others.

The new exhibition begins with works from 2013, marked by a resurgence of the anthropomorphic theme of the eye and the head. The works in the New Moon series, first shown at Erskine, Hall & Coe in April – May 2013, dedicated to the Japanese artist Ryoji Koie, whom Casanovas has referred to as his “unwitting teacher”. They are, due to their figurative evocation and the polishing of the sculptures, a formal and radical evolution in which the animals are very realistic but the human form is practically absent.

Two pieces from the 2013 Pomonas series will also be on display, closely linked to the goddesses of fertility and ripening fruit, the Roman Juno, the Egyptian Isis. Fertility, growth, embryo and motherhood are themes that were also explored by his paternal grandfather, Enric Casanovas. They will be accompanied by hybrid works halfway between ceramics and experimental sculpture from the Blocks series that dialogue with some Roman capitals from the back of the gallery and some engravings by Chillida.