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Elisa Uberti's ceramics evoke the nurturing spirit of cocoons
La Marche Sculptures_Elisa Uberti
Image: Courtesy of Elisa Uberti

Elisa Uberti's ceramics evoke the nurturing spirit of cocoons

Fuelled by her passion for timeless objects, the French designer and ceramist handcrafts refined contemporary ceramic designs.

by Anushka Sharma
Published on : Jun 25, 2022

Having spent several years in the fashion industry, French designer and artist Elisa Uberti’s first means of artistic communication, she decided to step back due to the lack of transparency in manufacturing and the products that undergo obsolescence as fashion changes, gradually gravitating towards ceramics. “It was essential for me to reconnect with an artistic practice more in line with my values,” says the ceramist. Reviving her connection with a primitive art at the hand of the sensual contact that working with clay offered, Elisa evolves elegant creations that traverse through art and design, tradition and modernity. “I work in a very instinctive way to create emotional, sensitive and timeless works. The boundaries between art, design and craft are disappearing to make room for new works that make sense with the evolution of society and the desire for different consumption, far from standardisation and mass production,” says Uberti.

French artist and designer Elisa Uberti Image: Courtesy of Edgardo Limon
Cocon Lamps_Elisa Uberti Image: Courtesy of Elisa Uberti

Drawing inspiration from the raw poetry of organic and wild nature, judicious minimalism, nomadism, architecture and the primitive habitat, Uberti sculpts an oeuvre that embodies both a respect of the time which passes and a need of timelessness. Extending on this sensitivity to the beauty of ceramic craftsmanship and simplicity, the Roubaix-based designer fabricated her recent stoneware lamp ‘Baume #1’. The French artist is drawn to sculptural but simple, intemporal design and unpretentious materials. “Today we can easily get tired of certain things because they are visually very rich or fit into a trend too radically, this is what happens with fast fashion,” points out Uberti. “I want to go against all that and create works that last in time, as much on their solidity as on their capacity to adapt to different times or styles,” she says.

Bubble Chair_Elisa Uberti Image: Courtesy of Elisa Uberti
Eden Chair_Elisa Uberti Image: Courtesy of Studio Mut's

Attentive to light, her body of work dominantly encompasses lamps, but also stoneware sculptures and chair designs. Elisa works with the age-old colombin technique, which includes building up a shape by superimposing strands of clay and then smoothing them, requiring only a few hand tools and allowing great freedom of form. The sculptural Baume lamp for instance is a soft and flexible composition with its asymmetrical feet, while for the Edifice lamp, the light is placed under a ‘hat’. The characteristic luminous outgrowths are influenced by the utopian concept of the ‘pirate bubbles’ of the architect Jean Louis Chanéac, which spoke of adding a parasitic cell to a pre-existing building. “I like the duality between clean and graphic lines like in brutalist architecture and softer volumes like a protective cocoon,” mentions Uberti. “The mother's womb as the first refuge, this notion of protective dwelling inspires me a lot to create a formal repertory with soft and comforting forms,” she explains.

Arche Lamp_Elisa Uberti Image: Courtesy of Elisa Uberti
Edifice Lamp_Elisa Uberti Image: Courtesy of Elisa Uberti

The bare earth, raw and matt, absorbs the light and all the roughness is magnified. “The asperities and imperfections due to the manual work make the piece a unique and sensitive work,” says the artist, emphasising how the trace of hand gives a soul to the piece. With raw and monochrome compositions, her works exhibit an incessant search for enveloping volumes, a subtle balance between the ordeal of technical constraints and the necessary freedom and spontaneity of gesture. Rendering her creations with patience, sensitivity and poetry, Elisa Uberti materialises pieces that can be passed down generations, pieces that are beyond time.

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