Valentina Ciuffi of Studio Vèdet is the guest-curator of a new survey on contemporary craftsmanship at the Nilufar Depot

What does craftsmanship mean today and what is the boundary between craftsmanship and design are really two questions that return at an almost seasonal pace.

And these are not new questions: the relationship between the designer and the craftsman is fundamental to the Italian project, which is so dependent on the production practices of the workshops. Valentina Ciuffi, commissioned by Nilufar Gallery, returns to explore the issue with the Craftmania exhibition, at the Depot in via Lancetti.

Handicraft as a cultural resource

The curator's point of view is clear: to find three contemporary (successful) examples of a coherent dialogue between design and craftsmanship. And it is obvious that at this moment the collaboration between the two worlds cannot exclude the hottest contemporary themes: technology, reuse and new use of materials, practical of production.

The sense, because there must be a sense in the production of new artifacts, is to understand if there is a possible resource of cultural experimentation of the immutability of the gesture and of the manual knowledge.

What is taken for granted, for example the inherent duty to safeguard tradition, is not part of Craftmania . Instead, there is the curiosity of designers / artists who use craftsmanship as a new experimental frontier.

Three names to understand

Carlo Lorenzetti uses the Colombina technique (the most basic: the one in which strips of clay overlap concentrically) to test new ceramic materials. There is daring, with a mix of raw earth and precooked compounds very stable and natural fibers. Research, however, is hidden under the glaze, just as there is a functionality to be discovered: the furnishings are equipped with wireless devices to recharge mobile phones.

Etienne Marc is another artisan 'experimenter'. He mixes materials considered incompatible with the traditional techniques of grotto Venetian, wrought iron and gilding. The objects are very beautiful, they have the charm of hybrid and unknown creatures. In search of a different aesthetic for objects with an art deco flavor.

Odd Matter is the Dutch duo that decontextualizes the application of medical materials and creates sculptures in fiberglass and crystalline plaster. Decoration, another strong point of contemporary craftsmanship, originates from research in collaboration with the artisans of the city of Rima. The theme is almost as surreal as it is virtuous: the pictorial reproduction of the marble veins.