ANTICIPATIONS / ceramic objects / PIOTR MASTALERZ
Gallery Curators’LAB, 12 Nowowiejskiego Str.
Opening: 29.08.2023, 18:00
prof. dr hab. Ewa Twarowska-Sioda
Piotr Mastalerz is a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznan. He graduated from the Faculty of Sculpture and Spatial Activities, obtaining a diploma in the studio of prof. Jacek Jagielski. In 2013, he defended his PhD at his alma mater. In the years 1994–1999 he studied at the State Lyceum of Fine Arts in Zdunska Wola, where he obtained the title of art technician, specializing in artistic ceramics. Then, from 1999 to 2000, he attended the School of Theater and Film Techniques in Łodz. In the years 2000–2002 he studied in Kalisz at the Faculty of Pedagogy and Art of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan. In the years 2006–2008 he ran a ceramics workshop at the Sculpture Department of the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznan. From 2014, he was an assistant at the Studio of Ceramics in Architecture of the UAP under the supervision of prof. Ewa Twarowska-Sioda. Since 2022, he has been the head of the Studio of Ceramics in Architecture at Magdalena Abakanowicz University of the Arts Poznan.
Piotr Mastalerz’s objects are art which combines materiality with sensuality. For years he has been fascinated by clay, which he uses for ceramic works with abstract, basically simple forms, although irregular shapes. In the works of this artist, it is characteristic to combine ceramic material with other materials – metal, glass, and in the works on display – with wood. The “ceramic sketches” were “written” with clay, and wood played the basic role of a material like paper, without which this sketching would not be possible. The ceramic forms are dynamic: they were created by the natural rolling of rolled out clay cakes, and although they solidified in the further processing, they seem to be in constant motion. The viewer’s memory is not capable of registering all the intricacies of the form when the gaze shifts from a fragment of the object to its whole or concentrates even for a moment on its other visual aspects – color and texture. Another feature of these works is their definite corporeality shown by the illusion of movement of swirling shapes with a uniform color and texture. This tangle is either self-confined, usually on a wooden base, or it has been enclosed in a strict wooden frame, trying to pour out beyond the designated boundaries that introduce a certain order. It’s like with us: locked in some framework, we try to escape from it using every opportunity. However, whether it be a cultural framework or our own that restricts our freedom, it must be seen as necessary because it is ordering a world that is heading towards chaos.
Contrary to the bas-reliefs discussed above, small sculptures by Piotr Mastalerz – strange bodily creations that could possibly be classified as very primitive orders of animate nature – are free of visible frames and alien to their nature. However, they are not freed from their own physical limitations and conditioning, and without an external framework, they clumsily step into the unknown. The air around them, invisible and abstract, once influenced the creation of their forms. After all, it is with the air that moist and soft clay, susceptible to touch, willingly combines, and when dried, it dies. Through touch and pressure, in the dialogue of the creator’s hand with the matter of the three elements, the clay takes on the shape of the object, and the object takes on the appropriate texture.
The calm colors of the works use the natural colors of various types of clay and have been obtained through various firing techniques, including raku, raugo or in wood-fired kilns. Color uniformity seems to intensify, perhaps even paradoxically, the impression of dynamism and carnality. The visual structure of the surface of all the objects intrigues not only through shape and color, but also encourages the viewer to check them with his or her hand. Yes, all these works are not only touchable, but also intriguing to the touch.