27 great Artists

22 artistsThe vase has resisted, continuing to call for a recomposition in terms of form, function and narration.

From this sort of resistance, the ceramic work of Galileo Chini, the initiator and great protagonist of the Italian ceramic movement of the 1900s, is an exemplary image.
He was the first to try and bring back the values of the finished work and golden qualities into daily life, re-activating fabulous techniques and impervious materials (from lustre to stoneware), conferring on his objects the seal of an unreachable mark of perfection and imprinting them with the signs of the purest creative joy.
And such are the vases of Galileo: a hymn to beauty, a paean to the symbolic form which is more apparent than that wished-for individual regeneration that was promoted, in an anti-industrial spirit, by the Arts and Crafts movement and a certain revolt against the nasty present, mechanized and inhuman. After Chini, there were many who would continue to take on the challenge of the vase and its call for a measure and a limit, within which the discovery that the marvellous and the exceptional are in commonplace things, whilst escaping at tangents is shown to be, often, a way to hide the most trite and banal of discoveries.
Pietro Melandri would later take up the challenge, bringing to his vases with reflections a universe of dreams and visions; so, too, Riccardo Gatti, with his many experiments in lustre and materials; so, too, a pure-bred sculptor like Angelo Biancini; and then Guido Gambone among his memories of the solar Mediterranean tradition and its innovation; so too, Marcello Fantoni, with his way of turning everything on its head in terms of colour and informality; and, again Domenico Matteucci, rooted, in a very mo- dern way, in the noblest examples of sculpture in the great Italian tradition; also Carlo Zauli would fol- low, the master of brokenness and lacerations.
Vases continue to tell their stories. Near to us: in a way that is both vernacular and affectionate. Like books, all of them the same in outward appearance but from which emerge memorable dreams and vi- sions: Astolfo on the moon, Pinocchio, Kim, the little match girl, the thousand and one nights, a day in the life of Leopold Bloom, a midsummer’s night’s dre- am, a haiku poem, the cherry orchard, the Cantos.
Let’s read these “useless” vases: they are nothing else than enamelled conversation pieces, and let’s listen to their figures - subjects, materials and abstractions - day after day. We’ll encounter them in the usual place each time we come home. Let’s read their stories, figurative or abstract, that tell of a beauty that modern art has, with a blameworthy timidity, often shied away from. That’s the least we can do.