From Wednesday 27 November 2013 until Friday 14 February 2014 the
Officine Saffi Ceramic Arts Gallery will be presenting the first solo
show in Italy by Robert Cooper (Sheffield, UK, 1949).
The exhibition
presents a wide range of themes by this ceramic artist of consolidated
renown: he has been dedicated many international exhibitions, both solo
and group shows, and his works are present in important collections all
over the world.

The exhibition offers an ideal opportunity to
learn more about Robert Cooper’s artistic approach, in particular by
means of the “Tea Caddies” series, with printed motifs and other forms
of decoration.
Robert Cooper’s collage-type style that he applies to
the production of his ceramics, with layers of screen-printed images and
surfaces onto which other motifs are pressed, inspired the gallery’s
decision to present Cooper’s tea caddies together with designer
textiles. The spaces of the gallery will be hosting some of the finest
examples of artistic textiles from the Alberto Levi Gallery, creating an
attractive series of references and harmonies, suggesting new
narratives and intriguing visual scenarios. The Alberto Levi Gallery,
Milan, is specialized in tapestries and carpets, in particular creations
by Jurgen Dahlmanns and carpets in the Acquasilk series.

This combination is described by the title of the exhibition, Tea Boxes and Textile Design – Ibridazioni Narrative.

Robert Cooper, stories are almost his “raw materials:” he is fascinated
by the life of objects and the tales that they incorporate, and he has
made then the focal point of his artistic approach. Every object or
fragment, in his view, is permeated by a preceding life and function.
Therefore, as a starting-point for his work, he used found objects of
varying origin, such as clays, oxides and glazes left over from his
lessons (and for which he has developed a specific method of firing),
mass-media printed images, pieces of preceding works, and fragments of
pottery found on the banks of the River Thames.

Robert Cooper
assembles and blends these found materials using a slow, meticulous
process, creating a new object capable of telling new stories. He
interacts with these small treasures from everyday life, which often
suggest and determine the theme of his work. His pieces are the result
of many superimposed layers of life, created by a procedure by means of
which he takes possession of the objects and reinterprets them. Cooper
applies screen-printed images to his works, as well as other printing
techniques and discarded packaging materials. The found object is
rescued from a destiny of oblivion and is given a place in the realm of

The artist often reworks his pieces several times, even when
they could be considered as complete, firing them over and over again. On
the surfaces of his ceramic pieces, he applies glazes and slips, and
continues working on the decoration with a spontaneous technique,
applying layers of glaze, screen-printing, or transferring photographic
images to the clay.

The artist desires to have complete control
over his work, but at the same time he accepts the possibility of chance
events, and actually encourages them within his creative procedure. The
introduction of unpredictable effects in the final pieces – the objects
that he uses are old and fragile, and so they are subject to unexpected
changes – is an essential part of his artistic process. His works are
forever suspended between a feeling of power and fragility; delicate,
but with a physical presence that has a powerful effect on the
surrounding space.

Saffi is an organization that includes the Officine Saffi Ceramic Arts
Gallery, the OS Lab workshop, Milan, and the magazine La Ceramica in
Italia e nel Mondo. Officine Saffi is dedicated to promoting ceramic
arts and design, by providing and publishing information for this
sector, and encouraging the use, collection and production of ceramic
objects in all their various forms.

Via A.Saffi, 7  |  20123 Milano
Tel. +39 02 36 68 56 96
Fax +39 02 36 59 74 44