by Dilpreet BhullarMar 19, 2022
At first glance, when one looks at the ceramic sculptures by Matteo Cibic, it becomes evident quickly that he is being satirical. On closer inspection, they seem surreal objects straight from a fairytale book. Created with great degree of finesse, they appear to be precise yet playful. The glossy, glazed finish, bright colours and use of gold make these more valuable and precious.
“The ‘oneironaut’ is the lucid dreamer; he who knows how to navigate the galaxy of dreams in a waking state, he who succeeds in exploring and modifying his own dream landscape as he pleases. This is how Cibic works: he is a knowledgeable dreamer, aware that he is dreaming, an artist who knows how to convert something as intangible and impalpable as dream-stuff into something as material, physical and tangible as pottery,” says Silvana Annicchiarico, curator of Paradiso Dreams, the recent solo exhibition by Matteo Cibic at Palazzo Podestarile, Montelupo (Florence, Italy). STIR interviews Cibic on his concerns as a ceramist.
Rahul Kumar (RK): Your practice is referred to as 'tangency of vision'. Your works are somewhat recognisable but at the same time, not replicas of anything. Please talk about the intent of your practice.
Matteo Cibic (MC): I want to make objects that last long, both in the mind of people, and in their current and future houses. In the contemporary times, everything is fast and disposable. Creating a storytelling around a product people find an emphatic connection with it. I am fascinated by the instant in which the tiniest design intervention turns an object into a persona.
RK: Why did you choose a traditional media, clay, for creating an extremely contemporary and surreal body of work?
MC: Clay is the cheapest aristocrat material you can use to produce objects. I grew up close to a village (Nove) known to be one of the best European ceramic districts. When I was 15, I started making my first models at high school. And then, I began to invest all the money I earned in producing moulds and training with sculpture masters. I was lucky that a famous design editor and gallerist (Superego) representing Italian maestros such Mendini, Sotzass, and Branzi saw my work and showed interest in my practice.
RK: Do you believe art, crafts, and design are separate disciplines? They converge in your works, to an extent, but in your view, is this separation necessary?
MC: Art is playing with different rules, especially in the distribution and communication model. Crafts and design are the same thing to me.
RK: In your exhibition titled Paradiso Dreams, the metaphysical renditioning of flora-fauna and other ‘ideal specimens’ are preserved specimens for future generations. What is the idea behind this? Is it a satirical expression that mocks the current generation, or an attempt toward serious contemplation?
MC: Through these works, I urge my viewers for a complete reboot and reflection of the current production and distribution model. We need new utopias, new dreams, in order to inspire young people to design a new world. This is a future utopia where plants will produce various kinds of processed products, such as perfumes, knitwear, hamburgers, and pancakes, in order to avoid to ship raw materials and finished products. And this is in a global context.
RK: Please explain your interaction and interest in Indian languages in your series Luce Naga.MC: I was inspired by Indian fonts and the idea that they can be assimilated into plants.
In Hindu mythology, the naga are half-human, half-serpent princesses of disconcerting beauty, and this idea was intriguing for me. It became the basis of my study for this series.
Paradiso Dreams by Matteo Cibic is on till January 27, 2020, at Palazzo Podestarile in Florence, Italy.