“When I’m sculpting, a casual onlooker probably thinks I’m massaging or dancing with my clay. If somebody watches me during sculpturing he or she says it looks like massage or a dance with clay. When I teach movement or I do movement, I feel like sculpturing with the space around me. I don’t want to catch the forms but the process of forming. Not the fruit or the flower, which are always changing and growing but the growth and change itself, which will form the material.” – Simon Zsolt Jozsef
Simon Zsolt Jozsef is a Hungarian ceramic artist and he recently exhibited at Puls Ceramics (Brussels, April 28 – March 11, 2015). He depends on movement so his materials can find their natural order as sculpture. Do not make the mistake of thinking that finishing his academic degree as a porcelain designer late in 2006 makes him a new kid on the ceramic block. He cannot be bullied. Any encounter with this work is guaranteed to have a high impact.
Gallery goers have been known to think they have wandered into a museum of natural history or extraterrestrial biology by mistake. But this work is indeed serious stuff. Fresh from graduation, his first submission to the prestigious International Ceramic Biennale of Korea earned an award. His work has continued to draw critical acclaim as his ideas, philosophical explorations and technical skill has seemed to leap forward with every new experiment and every exhibition.
The technique Jozsef employs is an advanced development of slip casting. He intentionally lets the slip escape between the pieces of a mold. This enables him to create fascinating—some would even say otherworldly—effects between the inside and outside of the objects that he makes. His command of his medium and materiel is such that he has already visualized the result before he initiates his process.
That is not to say that he is never surprised by the result when he examines the details after firing. It is easy to think of his white pieces as paleontological skeletons left behind by plants and animals that have never existed yet somehow seem to be tied to our Earth by some form of fast-moving evolution. Is it Darwin run amok or just revelations about the directions evolution, indeed all of life in the universe, can move? Simon has somehow managed to create natural forms that have never existed, yet which force us to think about all life forms and how they move through time and space.
Text (edited) and images courtesy of Puls Ceramics, copyright Simon Zsolt Jozsef.
Love contemporary ceramic art + design? Let us know in the comments.