The Architecture of Vessels
CERAMICS BY CARINA CISCATO
Carina Ciscato’s ceramics are quietly powerful with a strong architectural presence owing to their intersecting geometric structure, rippled surfaces and muted palette. Profile by Corinne Julius.
THE forms of Carina Ciscato’s ceramics are based on ellipses, circles, cones and triangles, which are then cut and reformed at intersecting angles. Their surfaces are slightly ridged like the sea floor or the sagging skin of an elephant’s foot, their upper edges are occasionally torn. Her earlier, much-copied works look as if they have been captured at the moment of melting, whereas her more recent pieces look as if their moving planes have a life of their own. Her pieces are the product of intense thought and skilled making, with a gentle passion that enhances everyday life, without seeking recognition as celebrity and stardom. Ciscato herself is a warm, generous, unassuming person, who is very considered. She shares a beautifully ordered South London studio with ceramist Chris Keenan. Her pots are displayed with architectural precision alongside her collages and drawings which, like her vessels, play with form, structure and modulated colour. The pair take it in turns to cook their daily lunch, often inviting other artists from neighbouring studios. It’s part of the warmth and an appreciation of life that goes into Ciscato’s work. Carina Ciscato was born in January 1970 in Sao Paulo. ‘It was,’ she smiles, ‘the World Cup, a very happy year and January is party time.’ Her father was a doctor, gentle but with vision, her mother an architect and very forceful. Ciscato is reflective: ‘I had a problem of volume. For my father nothing was really important, for my mother everything was a drama. It was so extreme.’ She also had three brothers and had to be quite independent. ‘My mother drew very well, but we didn’t draw at home. I was not allowed to play with her pencils. I did not make at home, but I wanted to. At Christmas I asked for craft stuff, but I never used it; I just placed it in a drawer of
special things and looked at it.’ In part she puts this down to her home always being full of people. ‘It was difficult to have time on my own.’ At school she enjoyed art and was good at it. She was encouraged by one teacher, who would give her projects to do, like producing a magazine. Ciscato did everything from the writing to producing the ads and artwork. ‘I was
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