« The snail moves in an uninterrupted creation of its own body, reinvents and meets itself. It slides with ease into the endless tunnel of its own identity. It is thought to be rather slow but does not see that its future image precedes it and that the road it takes is within it”. This text of Alexandre Toursky contains the present, the past, the future. In this apparent slowness, as in life, things happen step by step. It is because of what goes before that what happens next comes about. I can truly relate to this image. A regular slowness that makes progress. We have creation within ourselves but it’s not always easy to reveal it to the world.”
Jean Pierre Viot
To evoke for a retrospective, the ceramic works of Jean Pierre Viot, is it to run the risk of incompleteness. As much as to assume it quickly and deliberately, to make choices and preferences by favoring, in a field which is exceptionally rich and diverse, a few itineraries which are special sources of pleasure. On my part, and without any justification other than my own personal inclinations and a long-term friendship, I retain both anthems.
The eye, at first, follows an imposing set of unturned containers, some single units, others carefully combining several fragments as one when the oven and the cooker requires it of them. In the diversity of their sizes, shapes and colored nuances borrowed from natural clay pigments as enameled reflections with dominant whites which cover them with irregular streaks, two constants always manifest themselves: mastery of an art and the modeling of a space.
Here, each piece is homage to ceramics: a celebration of the fundamental material and of creative acts, in a tension between the earth which reluctantly offered itself and the hand which kneaded, mixed, fashioned and modeled it. Thus was created in the same movement, in a unique and new way, traces of the work from which it came (impressions, grooves, rolls, striations…) and the far-off echo of archetypical shapes always revisited, transformed, inverted and turned around (urns, pots, vases, jars and bowls…).
Bearers of their own genesis and history, these works would not know how to define themselves exclusive of a dialog with the space that they occupy each in its own way, but always in the dynamism which confers upon them a subtle set of curves, inclinations and sloping lines. In isolation, they draw their strength from the earth itself on which they are now resting “naked”, without the aid of a pedestal in order to “take the earth by its bowels”, in the words of Valéry. Brought near, they manage a void which, in their midst, becomes an integral part of the groups presented, where each component, solid or hollow, is enriched by its relation with the others in order to form a landscape where materials, shapes, surfaces and nuances speak with to another.
These plastic qualities are found in the second of these journeys, that which the porcelain pieces post out. In 1998, at the initiative of the EKWC (European Keramic Word Center), Jean Pierre Viot was a guest artist at s’Herogenbosh (Netherlands) for three months. In homage to the country that welcomed him, he created there, among other things, a “parterre” of 470 “tulips”. Parterre, here, takes its full meaning: location and material at the same time. Using the earth, 470 pieces of clay, 470 smalls cups, some made of sandstone, but most of white porcelain, enriches their colors (they are partially covered with bright enamel) and their shapes (closed, semi-open or torn). They are powerfully in bloom, as thought lifted by an unseen energy, though obviously outside of all actual supports.
Since then, the artist has continued his work with the new pieces. If the porcelain “tulips” have preserved their rounded forms, their dimensions were magnified without losing, to any degree, the perfect balance between elegance of the shapes and the postures that they take the fragility of their nuances (white cameos) and the refinement of the material. More than ever, to the credit of the flower which was dear to Mallarmé, the tulips by Jean Pierre Viot evoke, for our greater pleasure, “something other than the calyces that meet the eye”.
Jean-Pierre Viot, born 30 april 1936 in Rouen (Seine-Maritime, France).
Graduated from Fine Arts Academy of Rouen.
Since 1999, he has set up in Guermantes (Seine-et-Marne), in a studio-house that he built himself with his wife, Haguiko.
Founder Member of the Centre d’art contemporain de Châteauroux (the CRAC), he organized, together with the city of Châteauroux, and curated the Biennale of Contemporary Ceramics from 1979 to 2003.
Centre d’Art Contemporain de CHATEAUROUX (CRAC)
Comité d’Organisation du Symposium de LA BORNE en 1977
Association “Art Objet” - PARIS
2015||Centre International de la céramique, La Borne, France
2012||Abbaye d’Arthous, Hastingues, France
2011||Galerie Capazza, Nançay, France
2008||“Hello ici la terre” 50 ans de création. Rétrospective aux Cordeliers, Châteauroux,||France
2007||“D’un côté, l’autre”, Espace d’Art Contemporain Les Roches, Le Chambon sur||Lignon, France||Ecole d’Art du Beauvaisis, Espace Culturel François Mitterrand, Beauvais, France||Chez Micky Mallet, La Borne, France
2006||“Le blanc, ou presque...” Eglise Saint-Cyran. Le Blanc, France||Galerie Hélène Porée, Paris, France
2005||Galerie Yamaki, Osaka, Japan
2004||Galerie B15, Munich, Germany||Galerie Loes et Reiner International Ceramics, Deventer, Netherlands
2002||Espace Croix- Baragnon, Toulouse, France||Galerie DM Sarver, Paris, France
2000||OPAC de Reims, France||Sawara Museum Ruhe. Fukuoka, Japan||Galerie Maronie. Kyoto, Japan
1999||Espace Saint-Jean, Melun, France||“Cultures d’Automne”, Carré Noir- Le Safran, Amiens, France
1997||Galerie HD Nick, Aubais, France||Galerie Loes et Reiner International Ceramics, Deventer, Netherlands
1996||Maison de la céramique, Mulhouse, France||Galerie le Vieux -Bourg, Lonay, Switzerland
1995||Galerie DM Sarver, Paris, France
1994||Galerie B15, Munich, Germany
1993||Musée de Saintes, France
1987||Galerie Capazza. Nançay, France
1986||Galerie DM Sarver, Paris, France
1983||Galerie Heidi Schneider, Horgen, Switzerland||Galerie Arcadie. Lyon, France