Exhibition Distortions - February-March 2019
Anne Mortier and Rafa Perez
Rafael “Rafa” Pérez was born in Haro, La Rioja, Spain in 1957. He originally studied economics but chose for a life as an artist, working with clay as his medium from 1986 on. He has maintained this career since. Rafa was invited in numerous individual and collective exhibitions, in Europe, Asia and the Americas. His work can be seen in international collections in museums, institutions and private collectons all over the world. He won dozens of first prizes in national and international competitions.
Important was he election in 2007 as member of the International Academy of Ceramics, the most prestigious assembly of ceramicists in the world.
Perez`s ceramic sculptures are unique. They distinguish themselves by the use of material and techniques, which are rather unorthodox with regards to traditional ceramics. Yet, this is what undeniably makes his sculptures so special. They dispel rather than reinforce the sense of ceramics as a discipline. Clay is clearly the central material component of his work, but it is utilized in such a way that it makes the boundaries fade between ceramics and painting, sculpture or even performance. Perez orients his activity within the limits of physics and his transgression of the traditional.
His work makes me think of solidified earth eruptions, evoking a rough kind of beauty. Ceramic art exists by the force of the four elements, earth, water, fire and air. In Rafa Perez’ work one can touch the sculpture, the earth, but one also feels the traces of the fire, air and water, which determined the sculptures.
Rafa says: “My way of working is based on a “open eyes” and “looking first” approach. Or better, it is a sensation I try to transfer to my works. And I consider my works good when I open the kiln and, not recognizing the pieces as mine, get surprised. Lately I work with two clays: One of them expands and the other one (a low-fire porcelain) is inert. With these materials there is a radical difference between the works before and after firing. I try to keep a balanced relationship with the fire. Of course, the fire has to work by its own, as I do, but in the end we are a team.”