Meet Giuseppe Marcadent, the restorer of authentic masterpieces of the past.
“The distinctive factor of my work is the continuous attention to the aesthetic element in the challenge that a flexible and variable material such as clay constantly poses.” This is how the craftsman Giuseppe Marcadent defines himself.
He is an internationally renowned craftsman known for the production and restoration of majolica stoves, furniture objects, decorative ceramics and jewellery.
In November 2021, the artist will partecipate at the Philadelphia Museum of Art – Craft Show 2021 (U.S.A.) where he was invited to exhibit his ceramic works.
QUESTIONS FOR GIUSEPPE MARCADENT
- Tell us a bit about who you are, what you do.
- What gave birth to this passion?
- What training did you have?
- We know that you make different types of artefacts, tell us what you do.
- Is there anything specific you love to work on in particular?
- How does your creative process start? What inspires you?
- Is there a particular work you want to talk about?
- You often participate to trade fairs and events. What do you think about these environments?
- We know that you travel a lot, do you perceive any differences between the world of craftsmanship in Italy and abroad?
- How is Made in Italy perceived abroad? Is it still a differentiation factor?
- What does it mean to be a craftsman in 2020?
#1. Tell us a bit about who you are, what you do.
I am a ceramist who works mainly with porcelain and stoneware at high temperatures.
In 1983 I moved from Belluno, my original town, for a short project related to the production of ceramics for stoves. This project then became more articulated and lasting, and for more than twenty years I worked in an artisan company as a partner in charge of production, creating unique ceramic objects related to the world of stoves or their restoration.
In 2008, the collaboration and confrontation with various artists that I have always cultivated over the years, led me to open my own company, Marc Ceramica Design, producing ceramics and in particular contemporary wall ceramics of high technical quality and design and porcelain and stoneware objects. But I still dedicate myself to stoves and in particular to the restoration of antique stoves.
#2. What gave birth to this passion?
This passion started by chance, then trying my hand at this experience brought out my desire to create by hand, to create beautiful, solid and functional objects. Clay lends itself very well for this purpose.
My approach to ceramics was initially only theoretical, so the early days were tough and demanding. I found myself making masonry heater, i.e. the tiles for the majolica stoves, in a production environment in contact with materials and products about which there was much to discover and learn.
The path that led me to manually creating unique pieces, in addition to the restoration of antique stoves with the in-house production of the moulds for the pieces, was very demanding and took many years.
I believe that my personal tenacity made me persist in a complex field such as ceramics, challenging myself and also my technical skills. The passion grew as I went along with the satisfaction of being able to say “I made this object myself!” When you are amazed at this, the difficulties and hardships really take a back seat.
#3. What training did you have?
My first diploma was as a building surveyor, and initially this was my work intent, to design and build houses. The approach to ceramics and its potential then changed my life plans.
Producing excellent ceramics presupposes a long process of knowledge and research, so I started studying again, obtaining a second diploma in Applied Arts and a third one which I am proud of as a Master Ceramist in South Tyrol.
#4. We know that you make different types of artefacts, tell us what you do.
From the work focus that for many years was the production of majolica stoves created entirely by hand, I am now devoting myself more to the restoration of valuable antique stoves and have developed innovative techniques for this purpose. I also restore authentic masterpieces of the past for customers outside Italy, especially in Germany and Switzerland, and I know that one of my works has reached New York.
The satisfaction of restoring marvellous masterpieces to their former glory is remarkable, as happened with a Rokoko stove from the 1700s that had been forgotten for hundreds of years in some attic!
Alongside this, in recent years the production of decorative ceramics, jewellery, but above all artistic wall panels, has taken on predominant importance. These are made of high-temperature stoneware, i.e. fired at 1280°C, and the current result is the fruit of more than two years’ research.
The entire manufacturing process is carried out entirely by hand, starting with the preparation of the clay slabs which are then, in several successive steps, engraved and decorated with enamels and finally also with gold or platinum casting.
Their characteristic is the essentiality, the simplicity of the shapes, the strong chromatic contrasts with geometries of lines and circles that cross each other merging lines and colours.
#5. Is there anything specific you love to work on in particular?
I particularly love stoneware wall panels as their concept is to create pictures to decorate homes but also public places and to embellish the wall space in a new way with a noble, ductile material that is very modern, clean and essential.
#6. How does your creative process start? What inspires you?
I keep a lot of notes, photos, sketches, drawings, words and emotions that I write down and then go back over and use when I want to try out new paths. I, therefore, start from a first sensation, which can be a photo, a visit to a city or a dialogue between people.
From there, an idea starts to appear in my mind’s eye and I sketch it on a sheet of paper with precise technical indications on material, size, textures, colours and particular processes. This is followed by the work in the workshop, which allows me to visually adjust and improve the creative process. It sometimes happens that I have to reduce certain spaces that I had imagined as adequate.
Years ago, I used gold on larger surfaces, but when I had finished my work, I discovered that it no longer united with the rest of the work, but became too dominant in it. The textures of my works are completely hand-drawn and therefore linked to my physicality, my posture, the natural light that enters my studio, my emotional state that requires solitude and concentration.
Therefore, my works generally have a thought and a purpose behind them, which I then try to render as best I can through materials and techniques, but I rarely improvise.
#7. Is there a particular work you want to talk about?
The work that led to the creation of the “Zenith” triptych, a wall panel measuring 48 x 83 cm made up of three pieces in high-temperature black stoneware with enamels and engravings, brought together and made visible everything that I seek and that satisfies me: experimentation, dimension, sign, chromaticity, optical illusion, wonder.
This composition combines the dynamism of the circle with the static nature of the lines and the rectangle, creating a conception of harmony and perfection in which nothing is in its place, everything is off-centre but everything is compensated for. The triptych is a modern re-proposal of medieval art, thus linking years of history with the history of the city.
#8. You often participate to trade fairs and events. What do you think about these environments?
It is very important to participate in such initiatives, but they should be well selected and evaluated. They give the opportunity to get involved and share ideas and experiences. They make sense if they are shared by exhibitors I would call ‘equals’ because it is not correct to exhibit what has cost you years of commitment and continuous research together with industrially produced objects.
Mind you, I do not mean to debase a technical process, even a very complicated one, but I believe that everyone should have dedicated spaces to get the right value for their work.
#9. We know that you travel a lot, do you perceive any differences between the world of craftsmanship in Italy and abroad?
Abroad they give great artistic and economic value to what is handmade, to what they know requires unique time, dedication and attention, which is carried out with sacrifice and tradition. And people know and appreciate that we Italians are good at this and are unique, and they tell me clearly when they discover that I am Italian.
In Italy, on the other hand, craftsmanship is seen as a good product, perhaps better made and better cared for, but with no other ambitions.
#10. How is Made in Italy perceived abroad? Is it still a differentiation factor?
Being a die-hard fighter!
These are not easy times and you have to start thinking about your work in a totally new way. Not in the sense of technical ability, but imagining more precisely who my interlocutor will be, what benefits it will bring him, also ethically. This involves a great challenge and a personal incitement to never remain satisfied with the results achieved but to always explore new working and expressive methods to push me beyond the immediate horizon.
#11. What does it mean to be a craftsman in 2020?
Many! First of all, my participation in the Philadelphia Museum of Art – Craft Show 2021 (U.S.A.) where I was invited to exhibit my ceramic works. Then some new projects regarding ceramic sculpture to decorate interiors but also the exteriors of a house, such as gardens.
I have already done some things in the past, even in large formats, but I believe that outdoor spaces will be increasingly valued. And finally, to create my own wall panels in even larger sizes! In fact, my customers are increasingly asking me to furnish their favourite wall space with a single large installation.
Thank you Giuseppe Marcadent for this pleasant interview and for sharing your work with us.
If you want to keep updated on Giuseppe Marcadent activity here you can find his social profile and his websites:
- Giuseppe Marcadent’s Webdesign
- Giuseppe Marcadent’s Instagram
- Giuseppe Marcadent’s Facebook
- Giuseppe Marcadent’s Linkedin
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