Pippy Houldsworth Gallery is delighted to present 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 lines 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. A number of these works further explore the imagery of Just Follow Your Eyes, also incorporating text: each vessel obscures perception with its circular shape, encouraging the viewer to move around its form. Others draw on the inexhaustible history of clay and the practice of making vessels – from minimalism to the pottery of Italian antiquity. 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. While touching on the vastness of human experience and imagination, Corvi-Mora holds the potter’s wheel at the heart of his practice, with each work deliberately occupying space in the material world.
About the artist
Tommaso Corvi-Mora (b. Piacenza, Italy, 1969) began working with ceramics in 2009. He has since exhibited internationally at Camden Arts Centre, London, curated by Duro Olowu; Somerset House, London; ICA Milano; Pulitzer Foundation, St. Louis; Salon 94, New York; and Galerie Chert, Berlin, amongst other spaces. The artist’s work was included in Vitamin C: Clay and Ceramic in Contemporary Art, published by Phaidon in 2017. This year he was nominated for the Premio Faenza at the International Museum of Ceramics (MIC), Faenza, Italy. In addition to his studio practice, the artist owns Corvi-Mora gallery in South London.
About The Box
The Box is a small white cube suspended in a black passage. Initiated in 2011, The Box programme to date has commissioned and presented works by Susan Hiller, Paul McCarthy, Shana Moulton, Martha Rosler, Arlene Shechet, Yinka Shonibare CBE, Ai Weiwei, Jane and Louise Wilson, and Alina Szapocznikow to name a few.