Translation from Spanish
CLAIRE LIPPMANN: CERAMICS
By Dionicio Morales
For some time, up to now, in the course of the twentieth century until our days, we have been witnesses of how has grown the number of women in the world that have found in the art of ceramics their form of expression, without leaving aside the hands that throughout the centuries have accompanied men. Both were born from the same clay, in accordance with the Judeo-Christian tradition, wedged by the same Sculptor – In the beginning there was the old and marvelous trade of craftsmanship, first as an utilitarian implement in the daily affairs of existence and then by finding a new application to the idea, either for ritual or ornamental aims, to make life more habitable and by imposing, through selected or available materials, objects that transcended their original creation and were installed in other modern fields, such as, for instance, architecture.
Among these women – to return to the starting point of our reflection, - although we should more rightly call them artists – Claire Lippmann, a French artist living now in Mexico, having studied Applied Arts in New York as well as in Mexico with the Mexican Master in Ceramics, Gustavo Pérez, shows us her more recent works at the Gallery of the Sebastian Foundation. If we recall the previous, already known ceramics of Lippmann – she also engraves and draws -, it is worth noting that in a short time a relevant change has come up in her expression, by the use of different elements, or just being a single, finished work with a greater decantation of shapes and showing a delicateness, as well as a certain wisdom at the final moment of modeling the clay, and by imposing criteria.
This wisdom of Claire Lippmann, her passion shown in a stage of plain maturity can be discerned in each of her projects, her series, her pieces created with diaphaneity and a certainty in her exhibit: Claire Lippmann: Ceramics, wherein the audience is confronted with a kaleidoscope of magic, yes, but also an earthly approach- because the origin of all these projects is clay.
Claire has shown that in this feverish art of wedging and shaping clay, she navigates like a fish in water; and I would add like a hound on the ground, like a hawk in the air and as a salamander in a fire; it is nature, synthesized in the four elements, as the four cardinal points, that are presiding the acts of her artistic life. Not only because in the ancient exercise of ceramics she has to stay in touch with the basic elements necessary for forging – clay, water, air, fire –, which enchant, captivate, or should we say, involve her in an idea, which she will deliver later on to her unredeemed spectators, because her spirit does not remain in a state of integrated peace.
If we would wish to enter - or maybe define – the works exhibited by Claire Lippmann, I do not hesitate to write the three fundamental words: lyricism, concept and sensuality. I confess that these were the first words that came to my mind after a meticulous re-vision with that ever-alert complicity of sight, of a transmission of light, like a cinematographer, shooting after dark, although I have to admit that her global expression shall cause many other dissertations on the matter, in accordance with the personal perception of every seer.
Why Lyricism? Because here this word is not used in the empirical sense we know, because Claire Lippmann is a ceramicist supported by academic studies, and then, of course, her great skills, first experimental and later as an experimenter – which is not the same – in her work of recent years. An experimental artist searches, tries and tastes; but an experimenter creates, proposes and practices expressions, all with a certain knowledge of matter.
Lyricism in the sense of imprinting her works with an unmeasured, overflowing passion that surrounds her “personal affairs”, intensely, close to a kind of dreamy perception of poetry.
Concept, because the work is hidden in the permanent abstraction of the idea or the ideas - since they may be several – and we should not forget that the word –concept- as intellectual as it may sound, refers to a certain art work in particular: it may also alert us, it all depends on the master hand that is shaping, based on imagination and reasoning, two apparent antagonists, but here complementary.
Sensuality because in the finishing of the works, in the external parts of the shape, the feminine hand can be guessed or imagined – to be seen or felt –, so ending in a delicateness, from which come air, vibrations and secret rumors enveloped in its conception. Textures, at sight, or suggested by traces and colors, are the most faithful reflection, the skeleton of beauty at sight that emerges from a lingering antique music; clay is part of the bowels of the earth – that with every sight becomes something new.
The “shells”, not mentioning other works from Lippmann, are a beautiful and talented sample thereof.
However, for Claire Lippmann, beauty – which is so considerably present in her being - is not everything. In her work, some of her pieces remind us of fossils, that, as we know, are bones or traces of animals that lived thousands of years ago, and that are generally found by digging, either in the depths or at the surfaces of the earth. Hence, the return to the origins and the need to unveil the history of races. This preference of the ceramicist has to do with her personal and artistic zeal about the “beginning of creation concerning the basic elements of life”, that is, the fundaments of nature, and let us not forget the men and women in couples, idealized, wedged, in contours, in a extraordinary application in engravings of “threads of clay”, which are highly affected by the specialty of drawing.
In Claire Lippmann´s exhibit, with individual projects, with frames that host a great amount of tiny elements to define a single proposal, with works within a final frame that remind us of solutions of “installation”; with her “Shells” that speak their own language. With her series of “Nests”, she reminds us of Darwin’s theory with a millenary reminiscence and poetic words; we might remember, as a homage to clay, a verse of the poet Dolores Castro: The Earth is sounding.