Vlad Basarab


Memory – Folding/Unfolding series (2020)

H 44 x W 100 x D 60 cm

Porcelain and stoneware, reduction gas-firing, 1280 C

Deeply concerned with the impact of censorship on culture in the post-World War II history, I engage my art towards transmitting knowledge, emphasizing the human need to safeguard the past and conserve historic truth. I aim for to record and encapsulate memories through abstract process-driven free-flowing forms. 


The attempt of transposing the human and the natural environment into my work is deeply connected to the embodiment of memories in matter, for clay renders both human and geological memories. The nature of clay itself stands as a base pillar in my art, for it is capable of bearing time and history. I employ matter and extract its memories in order to breathe new life into them. I have created work on three continents: America, Asia, Europe and each time I used local clays, which autochthone cultures have built their history and traditions with. Clay connects me to the memory stored in the earth. It has been the key element in my work as an instrument of transmitting knowledge. From the beginning of history, there has been a strong connection between language and clay, as early forms of written language were found on clay tablets. Because clay contains primordial information, shaping it is as though I am bringing back to life the ashes of the past, which are stored in the earth encasing all of the memories, knowledge and histories of people. Folding clay slabs becomes a means of forming and storing new memories. 


I aim for my process-driven-work to resemble a landscape of memory, as the result of my body’s energy in connection with the material’s gravity. Controlled hazard, accidents and chance play an important role in my work and aesthetics. By embracing accidents, I allow the work to have a life of its own. The ceramic process employs an inherent discourse with gravity; pushing the limits of clay during the making, drying and firing, enables me to search for new forms and surfaces. Defying or embracing gravity are juxtaposing methods of establishing my vocabulary. The work becomes an extension of my mind and body, a landscape of memory with the encoded process of the making. Clay records human gesture as an attempt to conquer the ephemeral of the maker's movement. My intention is to encapsulate the dynamic and fluid look of the fresh clay, visible during the creation phase, into its final form by controlling the firing and thus determining the surface of the work.