Maiolino (+ Chillida)


My first encounter with clay in 1989 provoked a storm inside me. Putting my hand in that wet mass of earth – dirt, matter – immediately a whole cosmos, a vision, presented itself. As material, clay is the perfect prototype. It carries within itself multi-form possibilities. Thus in the realm of creation, we are placed before a paradox: form limits the life force, imprisons it, but nonetheless permits it to organise itself. As the embodiment of discipline, form is at the same time the beginning of death. I was seduced by these reveries and ended up literally planting my feet on the ground and my head in matter, giving rise to a new series of works that considered these vital questions while putting process first.

Anna Maria Maiolino (1999) in Griselda Pollock, ‘Being, Making, Thinking: Encounters in Art as Life’ in Anna Maria Maiolino, ed. by Helena Tatay (Barcelona: Fundació Antoni Tàpies), p.203 [Pollock’s emphasis]

It reminds me of something I wrote for my PhD:

Mute, dumb, passive. Sticky formlessness. I know what Chillida meant, when he said,

‘This material, so bland, so… awww…’

No purchase, until he had a block to interrogate.


Eduardo Chillida in Chillida [on VHS], dir. by Lawrence Boulting (Phaidon Video, London: Phaidon), 1996.


Chillida / Lurra


Maiolino 2012


Author: bsadceramics

Course leader, MA Ceramics Bath School of Art & Design

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