We have met Martha Pachon, a ceramic artist, originally from Colombia, who has been working for some fifteen years in Faenza and exhibits her artwork in many different European, Asian and American cities. We have asked her some questions to learn more about her thoughts and her poetics.
First Drops: Over the years, a lot of people have written about you in association to exhibitions or in interviews and reviews…. Which of them, do you think, has most effectively described your work?
Martha Pachon: I really can’t tell you which was the most detailed or most effective description. I was particularly struck by the words of the Director of MIC, the International Museum of Ceramics in Faenza, Claudia Casali, when she spoke of the slowness of my work as though it were a magical rite and an intellectual event that required time and skill.
I also remember the words of Antonio Vivas, the Director of the Spanish magazine CERAMICA, who highlighted my complex narrative associated to the blend of cultures typical of someone who has lived between two worlds, America and Europe.
I was also pleased when the art curator and critic Beatrice Buscaroli introduced her text by recalling the story told by Albrecht Dürer when he saw the objects that Montezuma had sent as a gift to King Charles V in 1520 and compared my work to those precious objects from faraway worlds.
PE: In your role as assistant editor of the magazine La ceramica in Italia e nel mondo, and as a person who knows this sector in depth, which do you think are the most important styles and researches that characterise contemporary ceramic?
MP: The most widespread trends are two: on one hand, there is a form of research where the concept prevails over technique and matter, where, I believe, ceramic loses its main role and is impoverished; on the other there are works where the concept is expressed without losing sight of the need for things to be “well made”. Contemporary ceramics in northern European, Asian and in some Latin-American countries has become more demanding and refined, with deep themes presented in works of extraordinary technical quality which, when you get down to it, is what counts for collectors and experts.
PE: What encouraged you to dedicate your time to ceramic art and what does it mean to you?
MP: I was born in a land where we experience the use of ceramic in daily life. As a girl, I loved clay, my parents knew that a box of coloured clay to shape was more important to me than a toy. At University, my thesis in the Fine Arts Faculty was completely focused on ceramics. My inclinations have always come natural to me, they were never imposed and this represents my way of communicating with the world.
PE: Which aspects of your work do you love most?
MP: Everything, from preparing the sketches and pictures to laying out the material, from realising the work to exhibiting it.
PE: Which difficulties have you encountered?
MP: They are all of technical nature, there are many such difficulties, but they can be overcome. Then, the last stage of the sale, a lot of people don’t know or don’t understand and it is hard to position ceramic in “non ceramic” locations or dedicated only to ceramics.
…I started by observing animal nature and then came to the observation of human nature; now I like the themes of travel, transhumance, migration, rites, magic and love.…