Poetic Memories and Atoms of Nature. Sara Dario and Angelica Tulimiero interviewed by Waldemar Kerschbaumer

Published: 07.07.2021
Waldemar Kerschbaumer
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Sara Dario and Angelica Tulimiero.
Sara Dario and Angelica Tulimiero

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Italiano Plurale is an artist collective, that represents Italy with a strong, complete, and diverse image. It is a mosaic of talents and passionate ambassadors of Italian applied art. Curator Waldemar Kerschbaumer carefully selects artists whose work not only meets the highest standards but also provides refreshing insights into Italy’s contemporary art scene.

Today we start a series of interviews that will present the members of the group.

Waldemar Kerschbaumer: What led you to use porcelain and stoneware as the basic material for your artworks?
Sara Dario: During my academic studies in sculpture, I developed a passion for photography. From the start, I wanted to combine sculpture and photography. I tried to create pieces using both techniques. White porcelain is the material that offers the widest scope for experimenting.
Angelica Tulimiero: It came naturally. I started using clay in England and there I discovered stoneware and porcelain and the different baking techniques. Coming from the Italian majolica traditional ceramics, the discovery of stoneware opened my eyes to the world of ceramics. I finally saw the infinite potential of the medium. I realized how clay could answer all my sculptural needs and quench my thirst for continuous discovery.

Your art is constantly evolving. Which technique do you currently favour?
Sara Dario: I use screen printing for all my work. I print in colour at high temperatures directly onto raw porcelain. Thanks to this technique, I can cut, deconstruct, reconstruct, and model my images to create my photo sculptures. In my creative process, photography is as integral to my art as the plastic form.
Angelica Tulimiero: I combine manual construction techniques to build articulate structures and then add stains and glazes as well as other materials to the clay forms.

Sara Dario work in progress

Angelica Tulimiero work in progess

Which piece are you particularly proud of?
Sara Dario: I am proud of every work that sees the light after long experimentation. The more difficult the work, the more satisfied I am.
Angelica Tulimiero: That’s a difficult question. I have a very strange relationship with my works. But Coral Formation#1 is a piece that makes me proud because of the combination of the glaze effect, the glass, the carbon trap, and ashes from the wood fire. A good balance between form, movement, and finishing.

Where does your inspiration come from?
Sara Dario: I have different sources of inspiration; at the moment, the pieces are all linked by the concept of movement, inspired by the wind when it blows through the shivering trees or rippling meadows. I work with photography, which by definition is a collection and memories of reality, so memories are my inspiration. Books and music are also very important to me. Among others, I have created pieces inspired by Monteverdi’s Madrigali, by Spoon River, or by What we give to the wind.
Angelica Tulimiero: I am instinctively attracted to intricate surfaces like those found everywhere in nature. I follow my gut feeling when I do my indoor and outdoor research. Everything seems to be made of patterns, and every structure in nature is fuel for my creative process.

Sara Dario. Sculpture: Fiore, 2020. Porcelain 1280 ºC, photo serigraphy.

Angelica Tulimiero. Sculpture: Pillows for Beautiful Thoughts, 2020. Hand-built stoneware, slip, glaze.
Photo by: Bibo Cecchini.

How do your clients perceive your work? Do you have an idea how it might be used and by whom?
Sara Dario: People who see my works are always particularly interested in my technique. Often they do not immediately recognize the materials I use. My works stimulate the viewer’s imagination, and there are always amazing interpretations. When I work I don't think about a purpose, I work for the joy of creating.
Angelica Tulimiero: My clients are usually people that literally fall in love with pieces, so they collect them or give them away as presents. What really fascinates me is to know that once the work is not in my hands anymore, it begins a new life of its own in unknown homes and spaces with unknown people. More than once I’ve been invited to clients’ homes and discovered forgotten works, happily living their life.

How do you feel about having to put a price tag on your creations?
Sara Dario: I am happy that my work is often sold at a higher price than I would have the courage to name…I find it hard to put a price tag on my pieces. It feels good to know people are buying my creations. Whatever is sold is already old to me, I am constantly looking for new challenges.
Angelica Tulimiero: I had to learn how to do it. It is never easy to put a price on one creation, and often it is even harder to say it out loud, so in a way a literal tag can also be helpful. I soon learned that if I wanted to live off my art I had to choose a price and sell my works, so I taught myself to do it.

Sara Dario. Sculpture: Nella Memoria, 2019. Porcelain 1280 ºC, photo serigraphy.

Do you have an underlying concept that you express in articles, books, galleries, museums, etc.? What do you think of contemporary Italian ceramic art?
Sara Dario: Italy is a country with a great, yet underrated, tradition of ceramics. Traditional Maiolica ceramics have been industrialised, losing their unique artistic/artisan value. In many places, the ceramics industry is going through a crisis because it has been unable to keep up with the times, instead of focusing on tradition and refusing to experiment with new techniques, ideas, and materials or to invest in the younger generation. In general culture, pottery is for everyday use. To most Italians, the sculpture is marble, bronze, and wood. Pottery is underrated and not considered art or sculpture but craftsmanship. Fortunately, in the rest of Europe pottery comprises both quality craftsmanship and art. There are many companies in Germany, France, the UK, and Austria, there are many collectors and especially ceramics museums that buy pieces by upcoming and established artists and promote contemporary works.
Angelica Tulimiero: Matter has its own inner structure, an inner world made of repetitive forms. I project myself into this fractal anatomy, following the guidance of nature that suggests an unlimited variety of structures and textures. I playfully interpret these forms and the perception of the movement they create. Though drawn from the imagination, my creations reference our world and the atoms of which are composed. From macro to micro, nature uses the same language. I work with the familiarity of forms and the oddness of sensations. Within this vocabulary, I find my own language to speak about emotions, humanity, and alternative ways of communication. I think Italian contemporary ceramic art has evolved significantly in the last 10 years. Many artists are now experimenting and challenging tradition, I see a lot of innovation, concepts, techniques, and desire to conquer the art world.

When does pottery become ceramic art?
Sara Dario: Pottery becomes art when it has meaning when it speaks.
Angelica Tulimiero: I could say ceramic art needs to be more than just tableware, but that wouldn’t be true, even a cup can be art. I believe the secret lies in the emotions it conveys to the beholder, the thoughts and feelings it triggers, the vibes it gives off.

Angelica Tulimiero. Sculpture: Kurukuru, 2020. Hand-built porcelain, stain, glaze, glass. 26 cm.
Photo by: Bibo Cecchini.

You are part of the artist collective „Italiano Plurale“. What made you join?
Sara Dario: I think there is strength in numbers. In these difficult times, it is a privilege to belong to a group that is being promoted worldwide.
Angelica Tulimiero: I was contacted about participating in the PMA Philadelphia Art and Craft show, and the curator suggested I join the group. This is the first time I am part of a group, and I felt it could be an opportunity to promote my work in a whole new way alongside pieces by other great artists.

What is next on your calendar?
Sara Dario: I will be at the International Ceramics Market in Gmunden, Austria, in late August, then Lyon, France, until the end of September.
Angelica Tulimiero: I have a solo show in Venice at the “Serra dei Giardini” in July. A piece of mine has been selected for the “Korean International Ceramic Biennale” and two for the “XV Bienal Internacional Ceramica Artistica Aveiro”.

And as the Grassi Museum of Applied Arts Leipzig has chosen Italy as this year’s guest country, in October 2021 both of you alongside 13 more "Italiano Plurale" artists will be showing your work at the Grassimesse in Leipzig, Germany.

About the Interviewee

Sara Dario Born in Venice, Sara Dario obtained her diploma at the Venice Art high school and graduated in sculpture at the Carrara Art Academy in 2002. She is now based in Cardoso di Stazzema Lucca, where she has her Atelier. Sara’s work is a combination of sculpture, photography and a keen interest in aesthetic research. In 2019, “Madrigale, sui monti” won the “Thirteenth edition of international Biennial of Ceramic Art of Aveiro Gold Award”, while “Whale on Whale” was honoured with the “Blanke the Chine-International Ceramic Art Silver Award”. In 2018, “Madrigal” garnered the “International Biennale Martinsons Silver Award” in Latvia. In 2017, “Memoria Andata”was given an honourable mention and the “Concours International de Ceràmica de L’Alcora” Audience Award.
Angelica Tulimiero was born in Avellino, graduated in applied ceramic art at the ISA de Luca, Avellino, Italy, and studied Ceramics and Art and Design at London’s Morley College. Angelica is temporarily based in Cava de’Tirreni. In 2019 and 2021, she was among the finalists at the KICB, Korean International Ceramic Biennale. In 2015, she won 1st prize at the 35th CICA Concurso Internacional de Ceramica Contemporanea. In 2016, Tulimiero took part in Ceramique 14, Salon de la ceramique in Paris and exhibited her work at a solo show called InDeeper at Amsterdam’s Cloud Gallery. In 2017, she was invited to Meet’In in Martinique’s Fort the France, where she also gave a ceramic master class. That same year she was also finalist at Cerco in Zaragoza. In 2018\19, she worked on her solo show Tako Tsubo at Amsterdam’s Cloud Gallery.
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About the author

Waldemar Kerschbaumer
is the Creative Director and founder of the advertising and web agency adpassion based in Bolzano, Italy. He spent 7 years working for a local weekly magazine and over 10 years in different advertising agencies before founding his own company. adpassion caters to a variety of different sectors, from business to education and museums, and private and business clients as well as artists.

Italiano plurale was born in 2018, when Waldemar Kerschbaumer was asked to select Italy’s best and most promising jewelry artists for the Vienna Jewelry Days. The big leap came after just a few months: The Philadelphia Museum of Art’s annual PMA Craft Show settled on Italy as their guest country for 2020 and Waldemar was asked to curate and select the best Italian artists from various art categories. His previous experience promoting artists and having their work shown at international events proved an invaluable asset in the early days of the project. Italian artists expressed the need for support, especially for a whole host of excellent yet underrated artisans.