Riga Porcelain Museum, 16 June - 13 August 2023
Ceramic artist and designer Esmeralda Purvišķe is the founder of Esse Ceramics brand. Graphic artist Zahars Ze works in illustration and graphic design, and from time-to-time toys with street art. Their paths to porcelain were different, but for the last five years they have been working together in Krasta keramika studio in Riga. Since their first jointly created article, the creative symbiosis of Esmeralda and Zahars has been so close that by now the artists have stopped measuring the individual contribution to any particular piece, instead regarding their beloved creations as commonly authored.
Distinct visuality dominates in the works of Esmeralda and Zahars. The eye is at first drawn to the colourful characters. Blocs of bright, bold colours, ordered rhythmically, turn into outlines of people, animals, and plants – heading somewhere, doing and experiencing different things. They stand out even more thanks to the expressive form of the objects, providing plenty of surface space for the characters to play on. These functional items, including mugs, cups, pitchers, vases, plates, and candlesticks, along with abstract objects and sculptural works is an authentic contribution to Latvian porcelain design. But the cheerful aesthetics is only one aspect of it. On a closer look, one notices clever and careful study of the past masters of Latvian ceramics, as well as meticulous approach to the original design proposal and unique vision. Both authors are convinced that every one of their created objects not only should have aesthetic value but should also be functional.
That Porcelain Stuff is the first exhibition of Esmeralda Purvišķe and Zahars Ze at Riga Porcelain Museum. The exhibition includes their latest work, created especially for it. Lavishly decorated in a seven-tone colour palette these porcelain objects explore the artists’ favourite themes and topics in a sunny, summery fashion. While Esmeralda expands her already iconic service, adding new types of items decorated in delicate, sensual colours, Zahars bestows human-like expression to porcelain items in a variety of shapes and forms. The exhibition includes large decorative vases and plates, as well as functional pitchers, cups and bowls, and sculptural items – abstract objects and installations, revealing that the border between the mundane and practical design, and pure, joyful art is nebulous and can be easily crossed.
The artists' creative work has been supported by the State Cultural Capital Foundation.
Photo by Gvido Kajons.