In the Shape of Clay is an atelier space curated to support the exploration of clay, a material that speaks of human history. An atelier where our hands – impressive working tools of primary importance – can encounter, explore, and come to know the material, at the same taking from it sensations, forms, perceptions and imaginaries. Clay is offered in its different "phases of life", from damp to dry. It is crushed and powdered, meets with water, comes back to life again, and returns to its capacity for plasticity.
Our hands listen, they observe and manipulate, they enter clay and fragment it with fine gestures, digging into the material with pressure and pleasure. They work the clay with fist, palm, and fingertips, experimenting with verticality and balancing different volumes. Smaller children, older children, and adults, all discover the force of contact with terra, the earth, shaping it in different ways, with alphabets of plasticity, layers and strata, structures rich in solids and voids, creating complex compositions and forms in different colours.
Clay is offered in a relation with different supports: wooden boards of different shapes and sizes, reflective surfaces, metals, and plastics. Bases that have different surfaces make for interesting departures, and can become the die or mould for interesting new textures. Large work tables allow for the use of traditional tools – for incisions, hollowing and smoothing – and for other unusual tools too, like pasta-cutters, potato-mashers, and icing-bags. Then there are torches, lenses, and microscopes, connected to computers, which let us get inside the material’s most intimate and unanticipated structures in totally new ways.
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