28 novembre 2019 -8 décembre 2019

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The last twenty years have witnessed across Europe, America and Asia the explosion of creativity in the ceramic arts in a way that openly challenges the often tired evolutions and repetitive monotony of much of contemporary fine and conceptual art.

By combining tradition and innovation, an adherence to fine craft but also experimentation with new forms and ideas, ceramicists have considerably enriched their art, drawing the increasing attention and enthusiasm of the public, collectors and institutions.

Contemporary Greek ceramics have not been exempt from this remarkable evolution but due to the financial and social crisis of the last nine years and the traditionally small Greek craft and art market, they remain to this day much less known than their foreign colleagues both in Greece and overseas.

Chris Boïcos Fine Arts has been defending the originality and creativity of the Greek ceramic art scene for the past four years in a series of major summer exhibitions organized in collaboration with the municipality of the island of Paxos in the Ionian sea :

“Contemporary Greek Ceramics in Paxos” 2016 and 2017

Earth Wind and Fire” 2018

Contemporary Greek Ceramic Jewelry” 2019

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Building on the success of the Paxos exhibitions Chris Boïcos Fine Arts is now launching an exhibition - "Cinq céramistes grecs à Paris" ("Five Greek Ceramic Artists in Paris") - of five of the best-known ceramicists working in Greece, to be held from 28 November to 8 December 2019 at the Petit Espace in the 10th arrondissement in Paris.

The work of Ilias Christopoulos, Haroula Koropouli, Iosifina Kosma, Angeliki Papadopoulou and Giorgos Vavatsis has been shown in numerous exhibitions in Greece but also in Great Britain, Spain, Turkey, Korea, China and other countries but hardly ever in France.

The five ceramicists have been specially selected because of the distinctive and recognizable personality of their work. All together they represent the originality and variety of styles and approaches that co-exist in contemporary Greek ceramics.

What they do have in common is, however, and age-old respect for the potter’s wheel, modelling by hand, the fundamental nature and centrality of clay as a material, and a love of Greek nature, its mountains, earth, sea and sunlight which in all cases inspire the forms, colors and textures of their works. Through these forms, textures and colors they posit a natural and still vital connection with the ancient past, working in the same land and light as their distant ancestors of classical and pre-historic times.

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Giorgos Vavatsis is one of the best known contemporary Greek ceramicists. He is based in Salonica and is the founder of Hakah Ceramics Design Production company as a well as the gallery “6 exi – Contemporary Ceramics” devoted to the exhibition of Greek and foreign ceramic artists in Salonica.

His work is deeply connected to the Greek earth and to the specific places in Greece he visits and loves. He mixes the earth or minerals from these spots into the clay he uses for his “Mineral” series as a way of retaining a physical and symbolic connection between the final ceramic work and the place that inspired it.

George Vavatsis

Iron refers to mount Hortiatis above Thessaloniki, his native city, iron and aluminum to Delphi the sanctuary of Apollo, iron and copper to the Cycladic island of Serifos. Small lumps of these minerals placed on his pots and vases represent the original the material of ceramic art in a pure, unworked state and contrast to the refined, highly worked and finished object to which they are attached. They represent the beginning of the potter’s process, the inspiration and conception that leads to the finalized object.

The subtly imperfect shapes of many of his pots reflect his love for the old peasant bowls (tsoukalia) he discovered still in use in old houses on the island of Sifnos. They also recall the conscious imperfection and rugged textures of traditional ancient Korean bowls thus establishing a universal connection between Greek peasant traditions and those of the Far East.

Like the other ceramicists in the current show Vavatsis only uses natural or organic glazes, and eschews design, painting and bright color in his work. All his work is also produced on the potter’s wheel and adheres to an ancient and austere discipline of pure ceramic art.

Giorgos Vavatsis - Avesalos 2018 from the Mineral Effects series Stoneware with the addition of metals from Serifos wheel-thrown, 1240 C
Giorgos Vavatsis - Individual-sized tea pot 2018 stoneware, wheel-thrown, 1260 C
Giorgos Vavatsis - Snow effect Bowl 2018 Stoneware, wheel-thrown, 1240C, overheated white glaze.

Haroula Koropouli is a close associate and a former student of Ilias Christopoulos. She is the founder of the Patra association of ceramicists Kerameon Ihni ("Ceramic Traces"). In partnership with Christopoulos she has participated in numerous symposia and contemporary ceramic art group exhibitions, notably in the archeological museums of Delphi, Patra and Messenia. Recently, they have been both aware and selected to exhibit their works at the XIV International Biennial of Ceramics of Manises in Spain.

Haroula Koropouli in her workshiop in Patra, Peloponnese.

Her work has an organic quality, a sense of density and rusticity that attaches it to the Greek earth. In her latest series of bowls and platters the forms are open and undulating, the surfaces delicately worked with a small hammer as in traditional copperware. The glazes reinforce the earthy origin of the ceramics as they are produced using the ash of olive wood ash (mauve) and copper (blue-green). Yet the delicate tones and the free-flowing forms also have a hint of the Orient, particularly Korean pottery, making her work a sophisticated synthesis of Greek peasant earthiness and Far Eastern grace.

Haroula Koropouli - Bowl from Sfirilata ("Hammered") series 2019 High temperature clay 1260 c, Olive wood ash glaze, 13x27 cm.
Haroula Koropouli - Platters from Sfirilata ("Hammered") series 2019 High temperature clay 1260 c, copper and tin glaze, 30 cm diameter.
Haroula Koropouli - Bowl from Sfirilata ("Hammered") series 2019 High temperature clay 1260 c, Olive wood ash glaze, 12x8 cm.

Iosifina Kosma is one of the finest ceramic sculptors currently working in Greece. She is a member of the Greek Chamber of Fine Arts and of the International Ceramic Art Association. She has had an active teaching career in schools, municipal centres and in her studio in Athens. She has shown her work in solo exhibitions in Athens and Syros and has participated in numerous group exhibitions in Greece, Great Britain, Egypt, China, Turkey, India and Spain.

Iosifina Kosma in her studio in Kifisia, outside Athens.

Her ceramics explore organic forms that are not connected to utilitarian pottery and its traditions. She remains true however to the essence of her material – clay – which she fundamentally respects and does not disguise with designs, glazes or colors. Shells, spirals and volutes are some of her favorite shapes. They reflect nature but also feminine forms and the female anatomy and are linkable to a primeval and ancient symbolism of life and fecundity.

She says about her work :
"With the work in the current exhibition, I wanted to make organic forms, forms that “capture” a sense of existence. I was not interested in formally depicting something concrete, animate or inanimate, or in transferring to clay the form of a natural object. I wanted to convey feelings of completeness, balance, harmony. Starting with simple geometric objects which by themselves exude a sense of Doric austerity – such as the sphere, the cylinder, the cone – I aimed at integrating them into a new harmonious whole. I am interested in the balance between the void and the full, the inner becoming outer, the concave conversing with the convex, the bright succeeding the dark. My intention is that when you look at these works from any angle, you discover a new element ; that there should be parts of the form which receive or host, and other parts that repel."

Iosifina Kosma - Seashell 2019 High temperature clay 1250 C in electric kiln, modelled by hand, glass ash, 36x17x20 cm.
Iosifina Kosma - Seashell 2019 High temperature clay 1250 C in electric kiln, modelled by hand, glass ash, 36x17x20 cm.
Iosifina Kosma - Seashell 2019 High temperature clay 1250 C in electric kiln, modelled by hand, glass ash, 36x17x20 cm.

Angeliki Papadopoulou is one of the best known ceramic jewelry makers working in Greece today. She is based in Giannitsa in northern Greece near the legendary Ancient Macedonian site of Pella where she has organised contemporary ceramic exhibitions.

She has taught and lectured in schools in Greece, Italy, Hungary, Serbia, Thailand and China and has also participated in international Ceramic Art Symposiums in Turkey, Thailand, Serbia, China and Tunisia. In 2015 she received Third Prize at the 53rd Pan-Hellenic Exhibition of Artistic Ceramics in Athens. In 2017 she participated in the prestigious XIII Βiennal International de Ceramica Manises in Spain.

Angeliki Papadopoulou in her workshop in Giannitsa, Western Macedonia.

The forms, colors and lines of her jewelry are inspired by ancient Greek flasks of olive oil and perfume, the forms of the Greek landscape and her experience of the sea. She transforms these into elegant abstract shapes in which, the earthy and liquid origins of the the forms can be still be felt. By wearing her jewelry one is physically re-connected, in subtle way, to primeval elements – earth, water, fire – and the ancient ceramicists whose techniques she revives.

Angeliki Papadopoulou - Chroma necklace. White porcelain and pigments. Length 65 cm
Angeliki Papadopoulou Pithos necklace and broach. Grey Porcelain and Pigments 1250°C. Length 35 cm
Angeliki Papadopoulou - Pithos necklace. Multiple colors stoneware 1230°C. Length 50 cm

Ilias Christopoulos is based in Kalamata in the southern Peloponnese. He is a very active member and well-known teacher of the artistic ceramic community in Greece, organizer of symposia and contemporary ceramic art group exhibitions, notably in the archeological museums of Delphi, Patra and Messenia. He is co-founder with Haroula Koropouli of the ceramic artists association Kerameon Ihni (“Ceramic Traces”) based in Patra in the Peloponnese. His work has been widely exhibited in Greece and abroad, notably in Italy, Spain, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia and France.

Ilias Christopoulos working in outdoor wood-fired kiln.

In the latest works he is presenting in Paris, Ilias Christopoulos, has re-thought the concept of one of the most basic ceramic forms, the container or jar (doheio). His cylindrical jars combine for the first time in his work black clay and porcelain, two antithetical substances, here synthesized in perfect harmony. The stratifications of dark clay and porcelain were, according to Ilias, inspired by his observation of the variegated geological strata of the cliffs of the island of Paxos in the Ionian sea. The rounded shapes of the candleholders in the exhibition where also inspired by the shapes of the Paxos beach pebbles.

The addition of wooden balls as feet to the jars, acts as a disrupter by introducing an unexpected material and texture to the ceramic composition. The oblique positioning of the jars also surprises as it usurps the traditional stability of the object. Ilias disturbs the static nature of the jar by giving it an inclination that implies movement. The classic symmetrical geometric cylinder is here re-created as a playful, even humorous object with a subtle and distinctly contemporary flavor.

Ilias Christopoulos - Pyxida 2019 from the series "Play of Light and Shade" White porcelain with high temperature black clay 1260 C, wheel-thrown.
Ilias Christopoulos - Receptacle 2019 from the series "Play of Light and Shade" White porcelain with high temperature black clay 1260 C, wheel-thrown.
Ilias Christopoulos - Candleholders 2019 from the series "Play of Light and Shade" White porcelain with high temperature black clay 1260 C, wheel-thrown.

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