Bellissimo Garden (Beautiful Garden)

Surasi Kusolwong, Bellissimo Garden (Beautiful Garden)

Surasi Kusolwong, Bellissimo Garden (Beautiful Garden)

Surasi Kusolwong, Bellissimo Garden (Beautiful Garden)

Bellissimo Garden

(My) experiences have taken different shapes and forms while working with ceramics.
I would like to share the attitudes and experiences that made my ceramic project possible.

I landed at Milano Malpensa Airport in the late morning, and took the airport bus to the train station where somebody was supposed to pick me up and accompany me to Albisola. It was incredible how many people were at the station even though it was a Sunday. I waited for an hour and then tried to find a telephone booth. Oh! They only take telephone cards, just plastic money, no coins. Luckily, I found a shop to buy the plastic phone card. I called Tiziana who said “I’ll send somebody again. The woman picking you up will be holding the new issue of Flash Art in her hand!” That’s really nice and original, I thought!
Later on, I met the woman and we drove a car to Albisola. It took around 3 hours… Hmmm… very beautiful landscape, quiet hills all around…

Albisola greetings
Tiziana rushed up to greet me on the streets of Albisola. “Surasi! Come stai?” “Mille grazie. Bene. Super Bene!”, I replied. She had just come from the office, I guessed. We went out for lunch at the restaurant near the beach. The sky was bright and clear. Roberto and Alberto joined us later with their welcoming smile… Immediately after lunch Roberto took us to visit Asger Jorn’s house in the Albisola hills. The place is quite amazing, full of energy… very beautiful. Then we visited the Artists’ Walk at Albissola Marina with the work of Lucio Fontana, Wifredo Lam, and others…
That evening was so wonderful for me (I felt quite dizzy after crossing the world from Bangkok).

The next morning through to the afternoon, I visited a number ceramic studios in different places. They were all dynamic studios with fascinating atmospheres connecting with the traditional ways of making ceramics…
I saw my small ceramic animals for the first time since they had been sent here as models to be enlarged by the Fine Art high school students of Savona.
The students had completed the process making the moulds of the tiger, rabbit, penguin, duck, giraffe and so on that I bought from the Sunday market in Bangkok. All these enlarged animals were sent to ceramists in different studios for the next steps of involving the painting of their surfaces forms, and then firing.
My programme included visiting the students and teachers at the art school. When I arrived, the students were bright and active. Initially, they were a little bit shy about asking what I’m doing, but after half an hour of my talk, I received more and more questions. The teachers were very kind and very proud to show me their students’ animal drawings. I like the drawings a lot and hope I can show them with the ceramic animals. It was a really lovely afternoon. (And I promised to invite all of them to have ice-cream together next time!)

1) One simple table for all the different animals to be placed on. Each animal will have plastic flowers and tropical fruits growing on their backs (perhaps, in the same way that we have plastic money in our wallets).
2) One natural national sensibility is delivered to another.

Thanks to all the Albisolan ceramists and teachers who have been very kind and taken the best care of my project, to the students of the Fine Art School for their wonderful moulding work, to the anonymous Thai ceramists who give me inspiration and sensitivity and to the curators and friends who asked me to explore the possibility of bringing together two different realities through the fascinating medium of ceramics.

Thanks again for everything.

Surasi Kusolwong

Bellissimo Garden (Beautiful Garden) by Surasi Kusolwong was made in Albisola in 2003 during the 2nd Biennial of Ceramics in Contemporary.