Antonio Lampecco in Crystallized
For Antonio Lampecco, showing in the Crystallized exhibition at Spazio Nobile in Brussels until April 15, craftsmanship is a form of love.
“A great sensitivity in the hands and even more in the heart is necessary to make beautiful ceramics, as well as a constant search in the forms. For me, a good craftsman is in life a simple person, reproducing in his works what he feels in himself, craftsmanship must be an integral part of life,” says Antonio Lampecco, the Italian-born Belgian ceramicist whose installation of more than 30 large-scale works forms the centrepiece of the Crystallized group exhibition at Spazio Nobile until April 15.
Lampecco moved to Belgium with his family in 1948 at the age of 16. He completed a two-year apprenticeship in a pottery in Rebaix, and in 1951 joined Roger Somville’s studio where he was introduced to the artistic potential of ceramics. This gave Lampecco his first taste in exploring his own interests and forms, which would develop even more once he joined the Craftsmanship School of the Benedictine Abbey of Maredsous a year later. By 1958 he had participated in his first exhibition, and in 1960 won his first award: a gold medal in Monza, Lombardy. In 1962 he took over the Maredsous workshop, which he and his sons run to this day. Numerous other prizes and accolades followed, but Lampecco’s humility is one of his most distinctive traits. As Therese M Thomas recalls in her book about him, after winning an award in a ceramics competition, he did not journey to Brussels to receive it, explaining simply: “I was pleased to know that I deserved it, but I didn’t need to have or to see it. That doesn’t change anything.”
Since the 1970s, Lampecco has pushed the structural limitations of clay with sharp austere shapes, and smooth tactile surfaces. He is also not interested in the traditional functions of ceramics. Comprising ellipsoids and spheroids with only tiny holes, he says: “My pots with their little holes have no function as I didn’t create them as vases. A work doesn’t need function. Isn’t beauty function enough?”
Skin-like in effect, it is Lampecco’s crystalline glazes that transform his austere forms into luminous volumes. Originally only using a tender blue significant of the sky and dreaming, Lampecco first started adding black, and later added green-turquoise, pink and other hues.
“A long time is needed to become a good craftsman, also a lot of work and of tenacity, patience too,” Lampecco writes in an address to apprentices under probation. “And, most of all, love: because we create in this profession and each creation is an act of love.”
Season IV – Crystallized at Spazio Nobile, Brussels (BE), 23.2.2017-15.4.2017, www.spazionobile.com