Pottering about with exquisite results

  • 2004-02-26
  • By Elena Banks
RIGA - Peteris Martinsons is considered one of the best ceramicists in the world. It may come as a shock to learn that ceramicists can enjoy international reputations as much as any other artist can, but this is certainly the case with Martinsons.

His new exhibition "Stations and Towers," now on show at the Riga Porcelain Museum, is ample proof why. Stylish, imaginative and original, this delightful exhibition shows that the art in art hasn't been completely lost.
The delicacy of the objects on display brings to mind the tiny and fascinatingly bright hummingbird. There is no high-tech equipment behind the works, just an unbelievable sleight of hand. The exhibition is made up of miniature models of towers and stations created from porcelain, such as "Little Stations," "Memory Boxes," "Slanting Tower" and "Stops." The works are decidedly un-Latvian. Most ceramics in Latvia are made out of dark brown or black clay, blindly following some notion of tradition that dictates everything has to appear almost medieval.
Perhaps this is because Martinsons spends most of his time away from Latvia. He partly lives in Poland and spends a great deal of his time traveling around the world. His towers are variously humorous and somber. In his piece "Twin Brothers" he makes a curiously touching reference to the now-legendary Twin Towers.
One is struck by the intimacy and sensuality of this collection of porcelain towers and stations, qualities that are heightened by their highly polished, smooth, tactile surfaces. Linear contour markings help animate the surfaces of some of the works, giving them a real appearance of raw vibrancy. Spirituality is the most essential characteristic of Martinsons works, even though he works with ceramics, which are too often considered a "quaint" artistic medium. But like all good art, the works on show in this exhibition help remind you of the wonder of being in and of the world.

"Stations and Towers"
The Riga Porcelain Museum
9/11 Kaleju St., Riga
Open: Tue-Sun 11:00-18:00