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Guido Sengle

The subjunctive vessels of the ceramicist Guido Sengle

They seem like the prototypes of studio ceramics, the so delicate and yet forceful vessels of Guido Sengle: precisely wheel thrown globular forms with strong profiles, variations of cylinders and ovoids, bowls open wide with short rims or high walls, mainly of porcelain, vessels dressed in monochrome matt or glossy glaze, often in pastel shades, marked all around by dark, deep craquelé – silent beauty…

And yet what appears to be classical perfection has frequently undergone change again and again, and remains in that process of change in some way – continues “becoming” (philosophically speaking), at least potentially. The state of dignified finality is deceptive in this case: many of the perfect “ideal vessels” have been daringly modified over years and decades by means of unorthodox subsequent procedures in which no small number of vessels gets spoiled or even broken. Not only does Guido Sengle colourise the delicate craquelé of his feldspar and rock flour glazes subsequently in a carbon-rich smoke-firing, but he also re-heats vessels so as to blow cold compressed air or apply ice cubes onto the hot thick glassy skin, hereby inducing specific shattering and cracking. He robs glazes of their shininess, masking the glistening surfaces with a satiny delustering by using hydrofluoric acid. He vapour-deposits them with shimmering pink-coloured lustre coating. At worst, in the case of large, coiled pots and floor vases with multicoloured impressionistic-informal glaze images, he chips off the glass layer with hammer and chisel again in order to glaze and fire the ceramics afresh.

Rules are of no use here, just self-indulgence. Led solely by a Je-ne-sais-quoi like a painter, who stepping back from the canvas, declares his picture for finished or instead repaints it, perhaps only after many years, the ceramicist too is endlessly seduced by nameless, ephemeral beauty. The ideal vessel remains in the subjunctive – and is precisely for that reason always possible and not yet real…

Walter Lokau, Bremen July 2019
Translation: Mandy Loughran

Guido Sengle on Artsy