When I started this piece it was mid summer and I was staying in the Tuscan countryside on holiday with my family. The early afternoon air, in the shade of olive trees, was velvety, hot and intense with the smells of summer and ripening fruits, a blessing to the senses that only the Mediterranean countryside can offer.
Determined to do something with myself rather than lounging lazily about, under the porch, in the seemingly endless, somnolent moment, it occurred to me that for once I should try and make something on the subject of an architectural form.
Architectural projects contain a great level of complexity in their process of both design and implementation. But from a formal viewpoint sculpture, be it with chisel and mullet or by moulding with clay, offers much greater opportunities for exploring and achieving an intriguing level of complexity of forms.
Wanting to produce an architectural model for an unspecified fantasy of a never to be built building is an entirely plausible exercise, and often done in the reality of practice, at least in the past by those who were accustomed to think architecture prior to the advent of AutoCAD.
Interesting as it may have seemed at the start the proposition soon began to appear fruitless. Kneading endlessly the clay while expecting to see come out of such labours something that could satisfy as a model for an architectural fantasy appeared soon to be much too reductive an objective.
With clay, freed from the needs of structure, function, regulations, clients’ tendroms and whatever else might come in the way, one could do much more in total freedom.
So the form in my hands started to evolve and take its course towards a complex composition that was acquiring a compelling will of its own, well beyond my original intentions.
Later on one of my children scuttling nimbly by, for play, looked up, arrested in his tracks for an instant, and before quickly running along said “Oh Dad! Are you making a mask? Is it a venetian mask?”
No child, that’s not what I wanted it to be, but now that’s what we’ll call it, thanks to you.
Giorgio Attilio Ceccarelli