When I’m sculpturing it looks like I’m massaging or dancing with clay. Patience makes success.
This is the secret of Zsolt Jozsef Simon, a Hungarian ceramic designer, who needs movements to help materials find their natural form and create his sculptures.
Tell me about you.
I have finished my studies late: in 2006 I had my academic degree as a porcelain designer. In the same year I applied to the International Ceramic Biennale of Korea and I received a honorable mention prize for the first time.
Can you explain your technique? Tell me how your sculptures come out.
My technique is a further development of slip casting technique where I’ve transformed the mistakes of slip casting to a forming method. I let the slip escape between the pieces of mould. In this way, at the end, the mistakes don’t look like mistakes anymore, just as an interesting effect between inside and outside.
According to your creation process, can you visualize the final work, or is it a surprise?
I had to learn to foresee the result of my process, but there are still surprises in the details.
You rarely use colors: what happens when it happens?
My white pieces look like spirits or ghost, just guests in the Earth. Through the colours I try to place them in between the Earth and Sky. Now I’m using earth colours.
Could you speak about one of your art works?
Outcrop, it was exhibited in Korea at the 5th biennial in 2009. In this piece I tried to show that kind of movement, which is based on a reverse form. It is more than a circle or a wheel, because there is the possibility of evolution in it.
You talk about movement and evolution of nature: from what did your research come?
My research derives from the J. W. Goethe nature studies and Rudolf Steiner’s Science of Antroposophy.
In a progressive art school you followed movement classes, such as Bothmer Gimnastics and Spatial Dynamics: they’re very specific movement studies, but what are they exactly?
In the beginning of the XXth century Fritz von Bothmer developed a sort of exercises, which are rooted in the European spirituality.
Spatial Dynamics is a further development of the Bothmer Gymnastics: these are exercises which create balance with the spatial forces around and the human beings .
I’ve recently read an interview with a choreographer and artist from Hungary, who’s now in Italy in a theather, and about a month ago I knew another Hungarian coreographer on a commercial set here in Madrid: is it an incredible coincidence, or the dance, the sport, the movement of the body are really valued in Hungary?
Hungary is situated in Central Europe, in the heart of Europe, which means influences from East and West that arrive at the same time. We had to learn how to deal with these ‘movements’ and how to bring together the special soul quality of East and the quality closely connected to physicality of West. In this process movement helps a lot.
Movement, in order to transform it in a work of art: have you ever thought to make a video, a film?
I can only imagine comical situation in a film, but I think that nothing, which comes from my artistic inspiration, is connected to film.
On October 20th opens your next show at the gallery RB Contemporary in Milan, which sees your sculptures exhibited next to photos by Italian artist Gianluca Maver: is it your first time?
It is the first time I exhibit with a photographer. I usually exhibit with Kinga Foldi, haute couture designer.
Even considering the diversity of the medium, I see many things in common between your works and those of Gianluca Maver. What do you see from your point of view, of your sculptures?
Our works are somehow based on nets. Gianluca Maver lifts up the nature, and I arrive from the invisible.
Through your sculptures you transmit also a sense of fragility: positive or negative?
The aim is not the fragility but the lightness. If something is hard, thin and light it means that it’s fragile. I wanted to enlighten the hard material to extremes.
On what are you working right now?
On new, bigger ‘Flowerlike’ sculptures.
What did you take home from your Asian experiences, in Korea and Indonesia?
The experience of power in nature, the infinite time and beautiful smile of people.
Have you got reference artists?
Two: Bohumil Hrabal and Jenő Rejtő (P. Howard).
THE LAUNDRY ROOM
Of what are you prouder of yourself?
I have vision of future.
What were you in your previous life?
As most of us: human being.
If you’d have to pack your life to move away, just with your most beloved stuffs, which of your sculptures would you carry with you?
I don’t want to carry any of them, just my ability and talent to make anything.
Have you got to say something, that you’ve always wanted to say in an interview, but nobody ever asked you?
We, artists, still have to find the center of our profession and the way to create from the spirit, for a life with a healthy soul.
Three adjectives to describe yourself.
Energetic, balanced, empathic.
A city to describe yourself.
That’s still in my dreams, a hilly small town with friendly people, smiling children. Like a small town in Tuscany.
A movie to laugh.
A movie to cry.
Ferenc Snétberger, guitarist, playing with a Tunisian lutenist with an incredible voice.
The happiest day in your life.
To see my wife and our newborn daughter to sleep face to face each other.
The mistake you would be proud to repeat.
All of them.
A secret wish.
I don’ want to say it because it’s a secret.
For further information about the exhibition NATURAL FORMS with photographs of Gianluca Maver and sculptures by Zsolt Jozsef Simon, http://contemporary.rbfineart.it/. Opening Oct. 20.
To follow Zsolt Jozsef Simon, http://nomisart.carbonmade.com/
Interviewed on October 1st 2011, original version in English.