Joan Serra-Carbones


I do not shape the pieces; my work consists in creating the conditions necessary for the forms to appear.

The initial structures are regular polyhedrons, either alone or in groups. Flat surfaces with straight, sharp angles which will reflect the changes in shape brought about by the chaos of the process to come.

My method of working is based on the behaviour of the material, experimenting with differing thicknesses of a clay body for a chosen volume. The thickness is modified by the addition of combustible materials which disappear during the firing. The various densities, dependant on the type and quantity of material added, will react differently during the drying and firing process.

From the lowest point of vitrification, where the clay will no longer decompose on contact with water, to a state of semi-melting or melting, it is the process itself that determines the wide range of possible evolutions of the base shape, arriving at new and intimate expressions of the play between fire and material. Dilations and contractions, reduction of volume through vitrification, changes in the shape caused by melting, the movement of a solid material against an unstable base…these are conditions which bring to mind the evolution and origin of the earth, recreations of the power of nature on a human scale.

I am sure that behind all this the laws of physics and chemistry are in action as always, in control of the process. But scientific explanations are not the concern of someone in search of shapes. When there is no explanation the magic appears.

The kiln and the firing, the determining factors of the final result, comprise the least visible stage. A sealed box with few possibilities of sensory penetration and offering few clues as guidelines, added to ones uncertain experience can only prepare us to be surprised. There is a before and an after, with no return; this is the challenge of the ceramic process.

In the limit is where things that interest me happen.

All shapes are already in existence. The work consists in discovering them, making them appear…


Joan Serra-Carbones


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