Earth and dreams

Simona Poggi

After an absence of many years, Serge Vandercam returned to Albissola to produce a new series of works that includes two large sculptures for the II edition of the Biennale of Ceramics in Contemporary Art. Made with refractory terracotta with the assistance of Giovanni Poggi and Silvana Priametto, his works were created on the spur of the moment and probably without any premeditated design. In particular, those made for the II edition of the Biennale seem to be two roughly portrayed things in a free arrangement.
Although born in Copenhagen, Serge Vandercam considers himself as Belgian to all intents and purposes. His career began as a photographer and that experience was followed by experiments in the art of movie-making, creating films such as Iceland Fishermen and Another world: the former received an award at the Antwerp Festival while the latter was selected for the Festival of Venice. 1950 is the year marking the success of his first works: the artist was inspired by his experience with CoBrA, one of the most important art development groups in the second half of the 1900s that would have an informal abstract influence on his painting. In 1957, he won the International Prize of Lissone with Karel Appel, Mattia Moreni, Emilio Scanavino and Antoni Tapies. Invited to Albisola by Sergio Dangelo and Piero Manzoni, Vandercam first came here in the Sixties where he worked at the Ceramiche San Giorgio. It’s there that he created numerous works, establishing a close friendship with his ceramic laboratory co-workers and that camaraderie is still going strong today. The decade of the Sixties was a particularly thriving period for the Ligurian town during which nationally and internationally renowned painters and sculptors like Lucio Fontana, Wifredo Lam, Asger Jorn, Agenore Fabbri, Aligi Sassu as well as Vandercam worked clay in the local ceramic laboratories. In 1963, Vandercam received the gold medal for ceramics in Albisola.
Today, Serge Vandercam lives and works in Brussels, but does return to Albisola on a regular basis to work on various projects.

Text published in the catalogue of the 2nd Biennial of Ceramics in Contemporary Art, Attese, Albisola (Italy), 2003.