HORTUS SELENUS (The Lunar Gardens)                                                   >> back to previous page

By Aurelia Mocanu, art critic
published in “Ziarul de Duminica”, Sep 29, 2006

It is said about those that sow, plant or graft with success that they have a “green thumb”.
The ceramist Gherghina Costea has, then, the “white thumb” because she rises from china clay, for almost three decades, shivering lunar gardens.
A demanding artist, with a distinction and passion that to me evoke, even physically, the experimenting femininity of Marie Curie, Gherghina Costea elaborates with ascending continuity through her technological equations a meticulous poetry of the vegetal fragility mineralized in porcelain. White clay grows in her monk-herbalist-alchemist studio as a planting soil for sidereal orchids. China clay becomes under the esoteric science of firings made in her own kiln, the prototype of the imaginative paste. Gherghina Costea transforms kneading, modeling and touching in magical gestures shaping forms that seize hatching, budding and flowering. Clay, imagined as vegetal tissue, imbibed with moist, the dexterity of the hand and fire, ends up motionless as the dream of a pure white plant, immortal. Porcelain is thwarted in his glassy coolness by the back of the hand pressures on its moist memory, by flattening and by soft turgescence or by light round embraces. Shells of buds, petal husks, an original coral form species, that unfelt passage between vegetal-mineral-marine-zoological, create the artist’s imaginary horizon. The silicate and aluminum oxides reach whitish stone deposit of the Big Hill (Gaoling) has the divine hexagonal structure of the bee comb, while the water molecule, divine as well, provides it with plasticity and the memory of touch. Thus, china clay has a large gamut of artistic expression, from the slip solution to the vitrified state at 1300 0C. The white clay is softened by water, but also by fire. This gravitational subjection of the softness twins it with the vegetal, with its sap and oxidation. If the life of water disappears through firing, the shapes fired by Gherghina Costea are so thought as to evoke, to exalt the germinal. The ceramist has thus become a lab expert of the growing curves, the twisting knots, of the fragile plying, of the breaking fringe, where an imaginary sap vibrates. The artist turns the fire into an ally to poeticize the oozing. It is an eternal betting of transmutation. Then, precise and ritualized moments converge to grab hold of the growth mystery particular to everything that is alive, a miraculous moment. Because there is an optimal time for the “fermentation” of the paste in rainwater collected at the equinox from the house gutter. There is also a time for drying without breeze and firing without cracks.
From one exhibition to the other, the forms proposed by Gherghina Costea are more and more involute in space, more ample, more provocative, like fragilities at their incandescence test. They are like hortisculptures with undulating, organic compositions. The modular and serial principle, telescoping limbs and germinating concatenations, leads the artist to natural solutions for the ambiance. Gherghina Costea stage-manages an “opera in white”, occupying her exhibition space with porcelain at a monumental scale. The big horticultural reef proposed in an ample space of the Romanian Peasant Museum this fall, will have mural pieces, alongside vibrant “ensembles” with original glazes made of deep caves sediments, petal shaped artworks made of stoneware polished with river stone, as well as fine hard porcelains or bone china clays, dreaming at opalescent budding.

(ZIARUL DE DUMINICA, is a weekly cultural supplement of the daily ZIARUL FINANCIAR, www.zf.ro )

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