Caltagirone – Lee Babel and Alessio Tasca

Apr. 20 – July 30, 2011
Caltagirone, Italy

This exhibition is special in many ways. First. Tasca and Babel are internationally reputed artists, who are constantly adding new meanings to contemporary ceramic art.

Second. It’s hosted in a very cool place. The building that is now the Museum “Fornace Hoffmann” was a former brick plant, where huge kilns baked the clay that was dug in the nearby mines, changing it into building bricks and tiles. The plant closed in the Seventies and it has been recently converted into a modern and spacious exhibition center.

Last, but not at all least, the exhibition puts together two pottery making traditions, Caltagirone and Nove, both representing a landmark in the history of Italian ceramic art.

As one of the foremost artists of his generation, Alessio Tasca has produced a complex and diverse body of ceramic works: from the sgraffito plates and plastic groups in the Fifties to the “lobster reds” in the Sixties and, finally, to his most famous extruded pottery.

Since 1967 he’s been favoring fire clay and stoneware that he shapes into large works using extruders. Giving up the use of colored glazes, he has been exploring the pure values of form. In 1972 the Victoria and Albert Museum in London acquired his “Cornovaso” and later, his “Servizio da Caffè”, both entirely obtained from a horizontal extruder. In 1978 he met the German ceramic artist Lee Babel. Their affinities evolved into a life-long working partnership. The building of big extruders from the end of the Eighties allowed him to make large sized works, some of them with engravings or xylographic elements.

He has been working and living in Nove for most of his life.

Lee Babel was born in Germany but she has been working in Italy for many years. Her exploration of space is the key elements of her work: using geometric blocks she builds sections of architectural compositions that suggest an implicit poetic structure.

Babel’s personal exploration of space forms the basis for his work, through which she explores her favorite themes: the door that frames the space and the area of life or the wood burning stove that is the catalyst of domesticity.

Her architectural structures often have an inside and an outside. The visitor can “inhabit” the work and choose to delete the distance that usually separates the art from its public.

She has chosen to lend a voice to the spirits of WW2 ruins. Undefeated symbols of the buildings they once were, the bear the signs of interrupted life: empty doors and windows,  stairways leading nowhere, outlines of walls that used to belong to rooms.
As a tribute to these memories, her glazes are soft and delicate, her architectural sculptures blending with surrounding nature: a sign of hope, a belief in the possibility of a peaceful life.

Arte e Ceramica – Alessio Tasca e Lee Babel
Museo Fornace Hoffmann
via Stazione Isolamento, Caltagirone
Info: Musei Civici “Luigi Sturzo”
Ph.: 093341831

5 thoughts on “Caltagirone – Lee Babel and Alessio Tasca

  1. I have these two pieces, and I’m wondering if they are authentic works of art by A. Tasca. One is #1202 (has 2 birds and 2 fish) and the other is not very clear (has four stacked birds). It may be #546. They are marked Italia, and are such beautiful pieces. I wish I could post a picture of them.

  2. Hello I am English and in possession of an Alessio Tasca with underglazed pottery mark “TASCA 149 hand” The plate is white, square with stripes of blue & red with wiggly black lines.It has a wooden handle in the middle – might be a sandwich plate Underneath the nut that holds the handle on is marked “srevlion 187 italy” It looks like 1950’s design. Please can you tell me anything about it and its worth . I can supply photographs
    thank you
    best regards Louise Tolley

  3. Hello I am in posession of an Alessio Tasca bowl with underglazed pottery mark TASCA.
    can you tell me anything about it please?
    May I send you images of the bowl?
    Many Thanks
    Lisa Tate

  4. My sister has an acrylic lucite sculture by Alessi Tasca and wants to know how to care for it and if possible what it is worth. It’s rectangular and solid. I can furnish you with a photograph. Thank you.

  5. As a decendant of Sicilians who has been studying its history, I love that you cover the ceramic art coming out of Caltagirone as well as carry some of the works of Alessi. I’ve loved maiollica for years but have only had the pocketbook to collect a few pieces until recently. I’ve never really come across anything here in the US from either Caltagirone or from Alessi – the works from Deruta, Gubbio, Faenza etc. seem to dominate the small market. In recent years, especially with the growth of the internet, ceramica from Caltagirone has become more known, but even then not much beyond the beautiful artwork of Alessi. I made a wonderful trip to Sicily this Spring and was fortunate enough to grab a couple of pieces from the Alessi store in Catania airport as I was leaving (That is a store I wish had an online presence.). My only regret is that I didn’t have the time to choose more nor the ability to carry more on the plane with me! I also regret that we did not include Caltagirone itself in our packed 2 1/2 week itinerary and am feeling called to return to Sicily just for the ceramic artwork. I’d love to turm my interest in maiollica into a passion, learn as much as possible, and maybe find a way to be more involved with it. For this reason, I would like to thank you for what you put online through your store, your blog posts, the links, etc. Its a wonderful resource and find for me.

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