LondonTommaso Corvi-Mora: Just Follow Your Eyes
Pippy Houldsworth Gallery presents Just Follow Your Eyes, a new ceramic installation by artist and gallerist Tommaso Corvi-Mora commissioned specially for the gallery’s micro-project space, The Box.
The artist presents a window onto a dimly lit wooded landscape, situating seven ceramic tree-trunks within the confines of The Box. This image of a ‘twilight forest’ or ‘selva oscura’ draws from the opening of Dante’s Divina Commedia. A ghostly figure appears to walk through the trees – an image of the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, taken from the film Downtown ’81. This fleeting figure – an early and enduring source of inspiration to Corvi-Mora – takes on the role of Virgil, Dante’s spiritual guide. Each individual trunk or branch, made of unglazed stoneware, may also bear aloft a small tealight, acting as a candleholder – a vessel with a new life outside the frame of The Box. These multiple possibilities bring together a branching train of thought, from high altar candlesticks used in Catholic worship, to those made by Hans Coper for Coventry Cathedral and the symbolism of the forest or sacred grove within religious architecture. By integrating poetry and ritual with everyday use, Corvi-Mora evolves an interest in British Studio Pottery, using ‘vessels as keys to make sense of the world [we] live in’.
Alongside The Box, in the gallery’s viewing room will be a presentation of new ceramics by Corvi-Mora. In dialogue with Just Follow Your Eyes, a number of these works incorporate text, engaging explicitly with Dante’s ‘selva oscura’. Others draw on the inexhaustible history of clay and the practice of making vessels – from minimalism to the pottery of ancient Greece. Shaping bowls, cups, tall or squat containers, the artist is responsive to ambiguity of form, function and association, embracing sampling, a practice inherent to working with ceramics. Incorporating a wide range of materials and imagery – including text, figuration and abstraction – Corvi-Mora holds the potter’s wheel and the vessel as a constant at the heart of his practice. Each work deliberately occupies space in the material world, whilst touching on the vastness of human experience and imagination.
Courtesy of the artist and Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London