The works presented have been carried out using the following process: the moulding, drying and firing at 980° C of panels of refractory clay joined together after the final firing with braces made from multen lead poured into purpose made channels. This process is intended to recreate a method of "restoration", documented by archaeological finds, used by Campanian potters around the first half of the 1st Century a.C. to repair large ceramic storage vessel called "dolia". The size of these artefacts and the notable difficulties in their production clearly justified the effort to recover and repair every "dolium" which in the most delicate stage of manufacture (drying and firing) may have cracked or suffered structural damage. This repair was undertaken with swallow-tailed clamps and with reconstituted the strength of the original vessel. The "dolia" to which I refer, those which prompted the idea for the works presented, come from the excavation of a Roman ship at Diano Marina. They are now kept in the local council offices but are frequently presented in various exhibitions of underwater archaeology, recently at the "Expo Colombiana", 1992 at Genoa. As a conservator of the Soprintendenza Archeologica della Liguria I have the opportunity to work on several of these huge vessel, recovered in fragments from the most recent excavation campaigns. Confronting the problems of restoration, I came to consider them not only as objects manufactured with great technical mastery but also as evocative monumental sculptures. In my role as potter I present "Fragments" with the intention of recreating the particular aspects of these forms and also of representing an ancient ceramic tradition which is the objet of study and research of many other.
LA NAVE IN FONDO AL MARE 2011
Thanks to the scientific tools of archaeology, in the first Quaderno published in 1983 by the ‘Soprintendenza Archeologica’ in Liguria, for the exhibition “Navigia fundo emergunt”, findings from exploration of the Roman ship wreck in Diano Marina were presented in great detail, supplying precious information regarding its discovery and the recovery of its exceptional haul.
As far as I’m personally concerned, finding myself amidst that treasure of data was rather like digging at extraordinary, deep roots in an imaginary mine and gave me the opportunity to re-interpret and transform some of the most evident aspects of that fascinating container ship, with tools and objectives that were quite different from those for which they had been collected.
… So the imaginary archtype models found their prototype in their present form, in the display area, perfect non-luogo (this is an ideal location), at Museo del Mare it represents a new departure point in a parallel reality, from where ideally, the ship wreck discovered in the Ligurian seas may be still at sea on in the time, despite having been lost with its crew, sailing equipement and having interrupted its voyage for ‘two thousand years’ .
From 11st- 23th August I will be exhibiting “I Giganti” (The Giants: sculptures and acrylic paintings) in Dolcedo (IM). Furthermore, some Clinker, exceptional “Fragments”, will be on display. These clinker have been created thanks to some discarded clay materials from a brick furnace. In a particular conditions, during firing in the furnace, some clay pieces accidentally came into direct contact with flame. These clay materials consequently overheated, reaching critical temperatures which enabled vitrification and partial melting of the components of the paste (such as quartz, phyllosilicates, a variety of other metals and mainly aluminium and iron). At temperatures above 1,500° Centigrade, the clay reaches boiling point and burns like fuel, melting like volcanic lava. The clay artefacts which undergo this violent alteration process change form and structure and become an unusable by-product, a furnace waste product, sometimes transforming into a mass of the remaining terracotta mixed with glass and iron, rather like a meteorite fragment, very similar to the vitreous mass left as a residue by the smelting of metallic ore. Due to the heterogeneity of this artefacts I found it rather difficult to work these pieces like usual clay artefacts. However, I tried to fire again them, to bind them together with fused lead, conserving the original surfaces of these exceptional “Fragments”, modeled completely by chance thanks to accidental and prolonged contact with the fingers of fire.