Is ceramics art or a craft? By craft we don’t mean merely machine produced products, rather producing products either with hand or machine in multiple numbers for presenting in the market, a product which can be reproduced in as many numbers as the orders requires. The craftsman has to have technical knowledge, but not necessarily artistic talent. His hands work: his mind is concentrated on his hands not to make a mistake, and the form of the pot on the turning- wheel is precisely what it should be, then the glaze evenly covers the whole pot, and the heat of the furnace is at the proper degree, and the pot is in the furnace for the exact time necessary, and then cooled off gradually. All the ceramists of Lalijin, Maybod and other places famous for glazed and unglazed ceramics have known and followed these processes for centuries. And although some of their best products are considered art works, the traditional ceramist does not call himself an artist; he is a craftsman or artisan at best. He is the follower of a traditional path and the day his turquoise bowl is replaced by a plastic one, he’ll kiss the job goodbye and looks for another job, The present exhibition, exhibits ceramics, but not the traditional ones. Maryam Salour benefits from the ceramic forms to produce artistic objects. Clay, glaze and colors for her are mediums to express her ideas. Like canvas and color for a painter. The past couple of years I have been following her endeavors and am glad to see that each one of her exhibition is better than the last one. First she learned the technique in France and for a while tried to use her technique with local material. She would travel, meet the masters and familiarized herself with the mediums they used. Then she built a workshop at her house complete with a furnace and started to work. Of course it took her a while to overcome the tricks and solve the problems. Then with self-confidence gained from the experience she started to exhibit. In her first exhibition, we noticed that she has mastered the technique but is not brave enough to get away from the traditional forms. Everything was spherical, cylindrical or conical. The colors were beautiful and well proportioned, exactly what a master ceramist would produce with proper material. Now, few exhibitions later, we see she has become so confident and believer in her work that she freely breaks down the forms mixes the colors and uses her technique for artistic expressions. And this is how it should be. Maryam Salour has matured and has learned to express herself freely, and from this point on she can do whatever she wants with her medium. She is now an artist who has found her language.

Karim Emami
© 2012 / design by Amirali Sadeghi / built with Indexhibit

2012 Exhibition