Maciej Kasperski

Ritual Objects

I was wondering what makes us treat an item as an exceptional one. What makes us worship or respect some objects and some other not? Which material, form, shape or function does influence this? I came up to the conclusion that in many cases a ritual connected with the item is responsible for the “appreciation” of a certain thing. It starts from objects used in religious or festive ceremonies and ends with every-day activities that we ourselves assign a special meaning. A ritual is a specific procedure that enforces the meaning of the object. I found that I should look for a certain kind of feature within this object which would suggest its festal or extra-ordinary character. I started working over synthetic solids deprived of colour, in which light and shadow, and relations between elements sizes are the most important. I combined a synthetic solid of a simple form with an element of a baluster profile which brings associations with something traditional and can be found in an average Polish house. This turned element can be found in table legs, treads or flower holders. It is used in concrete fences and railings, it bacame a synonym of a bad taste and lack of aesthetics. Still a baluster might be a symbol of the owner’s strives for prestige and the need to accentuate his social status (rich Romani people’s houses, small-sized companies’ fences etc.). This feature makes the baluster naturally predisposed to underline the exceptional character and the meaning of every-day actions.

In 2009 I started work over the collection entitled Ritual Objects. I made them of porcelain, industrial porcelain and stoneware. I performed tests with various colours of glazing (transparent, cobalt, black, pewter, red and blue). Sometimes I even left a part of shard unglazed. The chosen ones I additionally covered with coloured carbon paper. While creating them I put a stress on the very process of producing. At the beginning I made an outline of what I wanted to realise, and then I set out to work. I prepared more than ten plaster forms with their cross-sections characteristic for a baluster. I made use of wooden pieces of table legs, chairs or lamp bodies. Then I found some more adopted negative forms or their pieces. Through various free combinations I was searching for appropriate proportions. Then I poured them over with part or the whole of casting slip mass. The method for creating asymmetric objects was creative and spontaneous – sometimes I was not sure till the very last moment what the effect would be like. It reminded me of working with samples in music. The decision about the final shape was made during work. If the effect was satisfying, I would repeat it till the moment I reached optimal result. I enjoyed that thrill related with waiting for opening the form. The method gave me much freedom and more sense when searching for a right shape or proportions than in case of drawing on paper. During work more unexpected solutions appeared. After many attempts I was able to define optimal combinations and proportions. All in all I made over a hundred of different unrepeatable objects ranging from small ones (a few centimetres only) to the items of more than half a metre. In majority these objects have recognisable functions: a bowl, a cup, a mug, a vase, a jug, but there are also some items of ambiguous functions. I wanted to make them as polysemuous objects. I joined them in groups of the number of elements ranging from three or four to over thirty. I created sets that could be freely composed.