The Polish artist Monika Patuszynska °1973 actively seeks out difficulties posed by working in porcelain. These difficulties often cause ceramists to stick to tried and tested ways of making. Patuszynska however wants the problems. She revels in them, literally setting herself tasks that are so challenging she needs a plan B - and indeed even a plan C - to fall back on.
After 10 years of (as she puts it) “slip casting in a very polite manner without any seams showing”, she embraced the imperfections of the process and transformed them into a fundamental feature of her art. She has reversed everything. Instead of the mold being the ultimate end product, under her hand and eye, it becomes the beginning of her extraordinary process. Seams are not only showing but also created artificially in various places. She accomplishes this by smashing her plaster molds, sawing them into shards and then piecing them back together in order to create new formations, new molds.
Patuszynska continues to explore the possibilities of this technique. Her imagination has been captured by the playful randomness of spaces created inside a broken and reassembled block of plaster. This is especially true when she leaves some modules out. She brings the voids back to life by casting into its rock-like form. The result is intriguing objects, often precocious spiky bowls and vessels, with many facets. These are deliberately left unglazed so as not to limit the ways they can be viewed, handled and exhibited. They emerge to play on our desire to pick them up because they are simultaneously both inviting and off-putting.
Patuszynska’s experience in porcelain factories led her to conclude that perhaps those seams and edges from the casting process - those that the porcelain factory workers so diligently strive to remove yet which so persistently re-appear - are in fact in the essential nature of the clay, its tendency, its want. She seeks the seams, the edges and the broken textures to create dynamic and fluid forms. The process is like fitting together an awkward, three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle. That it works, that the porcelain cast survives with contrasts in thickness and texture is perhaps due in part to serendipity - but more essentially, to her exceptional knowledge of the material.
“I have been casting for over ten years. Recent work balances on the edge between editioned and unique pieces. My main emphasis is shifting from the final object to the creative process itself, to the material and technique. The plaster mold is just a beginning, not as usually happens, the end of the process of creation. It throws open many new creative possibilities. I am always chasing accidents. I like to let accidents lead me. I like the feeling that they occur when the world turns a blind eye, looses vigilance and inadvertently reveals a truth about itself.”