When modernity and classicism find themselves, you can think about Antokso by Antonio Sciortino, a specialist of handmade ceramics which are fabulous and absolutely not boring.
I had the pleasure to chat with him and talk about his passions and why his ceramics are so engrossing.
Admiring your little digital workshop I came across quite different creations although they are all extremely contemporary. Do you feel close, inspired by ancient art or are you in antithesis with it? What are your sources of inspiration and artistic references that allow you to see the final result of your work?
I admire ancient art, I grew up between Le Corbusier’s Switzerland and Florence, the core of the Renaissance. I am certainly influenced by it and I undoubtedly suffer its beauty, but I don’t feel like placing myself on a line that draws my distance from it. I come from fashion and I have always been passionate about beauty and what influences it, which is contemporary by definition. I like to observe nature and the body in their deformations and asymmetries, perhaps in the less “romantic” aspects but which in reality are made up of their own balances. Then, if I have to choose a reference figure, I believe that “Comme des garcons” is probably the greatest source of inspiration, especially as regards volumes and lines. I believe that Japan in a broader sense has also influenced me, it is a country that I appreciated from various points of view. I am fascinated by its excesses and its contrasts, by the rigid tradition that sometimes clashes with a crazy perception of the present. I believe that this logic is close to the approach I have with matter and a sense of balance. The Japanese concept of wabi-sabi is very fashionable these days, but I think in my case it is just part of how I work.
Decorative art is sometimes set aside by the spectator who is entranced by figurative art or art forms mistakenly considered superior. What do you think is unique in decorative art and what do you think they cannot express, tell other artistic forms than the one you usually practice?
What I like, in my case, is the possibility of being completely detached from the constraint of having to represent something. Indeed, one of my favorite aspects is precisely being able to imagine forms that do not necessarily have to perform their function in the way they are typically conceived. Why does a vase have to be a simple cylinder when it can be a hole in a tangle of pipes? In the end, the flower only needs water, the shape that contains it is at our discretion. Perhaps I like the fact that it is necessary to provoke an emotion in my work starting from something that does not exist or in any case cannot be copied or altered. The result is always different, and I really like this, especially for the unpredictability that makes the creation process almost magical.
Why this passion, this job and nothing else? Is there something deeper and more rooted in you behind this choice? Do you think social media are in favor of your business?
I’m an earth sign, will that be the reason? I like to work the land with my hands, I have always liked it, even when I am in the countryside with my parents, I like to take care of the plants and put my hands in the soil. In the case of ceramics, I like the relationship that is created when you model it, it almost creates a dialogue, you do something and it reacts and complies with you.. and if it doesn’t suit you, it hinders you and collapses. Then I like the fact that the earth is a primitive element, it is not altered by man. It exists as it is, it is up to us to give it a shape so that it becomes useful or satisfies us. I believe that social media, and digital in a broader sense, perhaps work better for those who create clearer and “legible” forms in a two-dimensional image. The more complex forms are certainly more difficult to interpret. They take longer to understand, and scrolling often doesn’t allow it. Ceramic, being so material, expresses itself much more intensely when seen in person. However, social media remain a fundamental tool for finding stimuli and connections.
Click here to find out more about Antokso’s work!
Interview by Giulio Solfrizzi