Orfevrerie in ceramics

In general, the Artist is the being most fascinated by the happening. He/she loves to distraction (sometimes also beyond its limit) to rely on what we call chance. Why are we surprised? In vain, because we omit a truth: the Artist himself is the result of a crossing between enigma and random qualities that only the Good God sets it in His crucible that is located on the divine workbench in the Workshop of Human Beings.

Cristina Bolborea is belonging to such a species of artists who wonderfully connect their destiny to a well cluttered network with auspicious moments of chance (of course, not without a real support of divine grace, a worthy craftsmanship and an overflowing imagination). The last one is the exceptional opportunity of a grandiose “solo” in one of the exhibition spaces of the Museu Nacional do Azulejo, in Lisbon, perhaps the most dreamed exhibition place for any ceramics maker worldwide. Of course that once this chance is taken, it immediately turns the performance into the bright consecration.

Cristina Bolborea’s art descends certainly from the resonances of a manufacturing thematic of the oriental culture. Her works are like samples taken out from the Imaginary Museum of the first tribes of the World, ethnographic fabrics and textiles researches that provides, otherwise, the brightness of any civilization in general. There are – within this mythical space of the artist, like husked from the privacy of the ancestral scoop due to the fact that we discover an illo tempore thrill in everything that goes out of her hands – tens of carpets, stitches, pillows, towels, wall carpets, table cloths, curtains, woven like countless generations of artisans from all the Silk Roads.

Then we see multicolored carpets, like those of Bukhara or from elsewhere, which she baptizes with the names of some famous artists (Rubens, Van Eyck, Holbein, Velásquez), or spectacular decorative ensembles through almost philosophical suggestions or meticulous and ambitious paintings (landscapes, still life, compositions etc.). To all of them, only a single detail has to be added. That’s all! A single detail. The one that all this documentary material with archaic flavor, all these pieces brought by the mind from the Museum of World Wealth are not from linen, coarse muslin or silk, they are not sewn with thread or gold or silk stitch, the carpets are not woven with the waving loom.

No, no, no – three times no! They are mouled in burnt clay, in ceramics – so wavy, so folded – with incredible minuteness and attention restrained on every detail, which, if not knowing the author, I would call paranormal. If you only lean on them, you will discover the finest applications, the smallest decorative stitches (some of them as big as pinhead!), hundred and thousands of geometric or floral patterns that are applied with such an easiness, naturalness and nonchalance that only the great artists and craftsmen of Oriental patience possess. You’d think that the artist took the place of the universal Penelope and, sitting at the window where the light is better, continues to sew, for hundreds and hundreds of years, the wonders what will fill the dowry of future generations of the world. Just that everything is sewn ceramics, with a fabulous and stunning act of taming the clay. Clay from what Cristina Bolborea makes absolutely everything she wants. She is shaping even the absolute…

Beautifully towels adorned with a provocative floral rhetoric. Fabulous still life works. Like paintings in a painting. All is applied on the ceramics. Waved, uncertain topos, repressed dynamics, a lyricism of the solid. And very curiously, void of the sensation of clotting usually given by the burned clay. You have the impression that the works are hardly kept wrapped and you are waiting any moment for them to let down. To flow in waves. It’s an epic serenade which will be narrated. A permanent delayed expectation of the stories directed toward the well-known Abbasid caliph. As in the theory of body mortification. The more you push the expectation, the sharper the enjoyment that will arrive. Restless, Cristina Bolborea has combed the room with the spiritual memories of the Great Orient and she has taken out unimaginable wonders. Which she has set into the ceramics. Moving. Streamlined by the natural mind breath.

An ornamental forma mentis. So that the needy optical perception is asking for help to the touch. At one point, you feel the hard repressible urge to touch ceramics with the hand. To caress it. In addition, all these soft and smooth developments claim to the imagination to bring, from wherever it knows, a hint of musk perfume slow-paced on a fume of fresh loaf bread, laid on a towel. If you were locked in a room, in a deep darkness and you would feel this osmic (and cosmic!) challenge, you would know for sure that Cristina Bolborea’s work is there. Meanwhile, you would swear that you clearly hear from outside an invocation glorifying an orfevre’s acts in the ceramics.

Florin Toma

Cronicart – Romanian Life Magazine