The pieces made with recycled clay by Giulia Cosenza celebrate a new form of conviviality, complex and layered, similar to the one she experienced during her artist residency at Numeroventi in Florence

In Roman times deities called Lares (spirits of the ancestors) - from the Latin lar (es), “hearth”, and the Etruscan lar, “father” - were believed to observe, protect, and influence all that happened within the boundaries of their location, protecting  the  home and family. As objects of worship, the statues of domestic Lares were placed at the table during family meals: their presence, cult, and blessing was required at all important events.

From these suggestions full of historical and mythological references, the ceramist Giulia Cosenza a series of totems, ‘hosts of domestic rituals’.

Developed in occasion of her artist residency at Numeroventi in Florence, Contemporary Lares is a series of small scale sculptural objects as well as tableware pieces, made by blending together a mix of reclaimed/reused clay leftovers  of different colours, to create a sophisticated sculptural marbled effect.

Each element, made in two separate parts that can be joined together, celebrates a new form of conviviality, ascetic and essential, intimate and familiar, stratified and impromptu, shaped by a specific form of direct intuition, the one of the hands.

About Giulia Cosenza

Italian designer and ceramist from Milan, Giulia Cosenza currently lives and works in  Rotterdam. Her work ranges from wheel thrown ceramics to hand built pieces, from small objects of daily use to domestic items that blend functionality with artistic expression.

The artist residency program in Florence

Founded by Martino di Napoli Rampolla, Numeroventi is a place imbued with charm and  syncretic  complexity: a Renaissance home, located inside the sixteenth-century Palazzo Galli Tassi in Florence, which combines gallery spaces devoted to contemporary art with artist in residence lofts, atelier/working areas and hotel rooms, open to anyone.

Between concentration and exchange

The residency is an immersive experience, that on the one hand offers the isolation necessary to develop ideas independently, and on the other hand creates a sense of familiarity, work and exchange between artists who often do not know each other beforehand.  In addition to the opportunity to create new work, artists also have the possibility of donating their works to what is in fact a living place, in continuous evolution.

A layered convivial experience

Numeroventi is a highly layered context, rich in history and creative synergies which release a timeless energy. Under the high ceilings, adorned with frescos, and surrounded by contemporary art installations and modern design pieces, Giulia Cosenza expanded her imagination and artistic research, by questioning her creative practice and opening up to a diversity of ideas and design visions. New connections, intentional and accidental, encounters with other artists and disciplines, the presence of the numerous permanent and temporary artworks that inhabit the rooms, forced her to slow down, finding a new pace and giving space to intuition.

Shaping matter with the intuition of the hands

“The sensation of inspiration and immersion in a new reality was, from the beginning, almost physical” explains Giulia Cosenza. “When I arrived in Florence on 14 August, with a temperature of 46 degrees, I started working in the atelier by shaping a clay block from the nearby village Montelupo. Given the heat, the clay was drying up at a really fast pace, therefore I had to set aside any preconceived plan and act out of pure intuition, shaping the material without a predefined idea, but only responding to its transformations and to the environmental conditions”.

Listening to the material to restore its essence

“Much like in a painting session  en plein air, where the painter responds to light and the stimuli of the surrounding environment”, continues Giulia,  “the handbuilt pieces created during that first session at Numeroventi, were an impromptu and instinctive expression, an attempt to grasp the essence  rather than giving a predefined shape. The residency therefore gave me the opportunity to investigate this idea of  removing working with the bare minimum and creating by relying as much as possible on my own tools, my hands. This awareness extends, as a reflex, to the context and to the  material  itself that  suggests  shapes and processes if you know how to listen to it”.

Ceramic artifacts as catalysts for domestic rituals

Each piece of the Contemporary Lares collection is made in 2 parts: as separate elements they are objects of everyday use (vases, cups, pitchers, plates...), while when assembled together they take on a sculptural presence.

Ever-changing hybrid objects

The idea of creating a modular series, emphasizes the still relevant role of ceramic artefacts as catalysts for home rituals, totems of everyday life, celebratory objects of the domestic. At the same time, the project aims to question the clear distinction between aesthetics and functionality, objects to use and objects to exhibit, creating a hybrid in constant evolution.

A waste-free process that pays homage to marble

Made at the pottery wheel and fired at earthenware temperature (1050 ° degrees), the pieces were made with discarded or reused ceramics in different colours (red, black, white), mixed into an hypnotic marbled effect which aims at being a sustainable alternative and an humble abstraction that pays homage to the rich Italian marble tradition.