Artist’s Books

The first person using the word “multi-interpretability” was Umberto Eco, and it did not happen without a purpose. In his essays, he showed how, even facing a close system or a thesis or a well-defined concept, analysing things can highlight weaknesses, flaws, an openness to multiple readings.

So, his last volume “Dall’albero al labirinto. Saggi sulla storia della semiotica” (From the Tree to the Labyrinth: Historical Studies on the Sign and Interpretation), just printed and published by Pompiani, collects many of his recent essays on this topic.

In spite of the speed of everything in virtual reality and the easy access to information, which are basic features of the Internet, fortunately, many are those who still explore books. The cold nature of the computer contrasts with the undeniable, distinctive and peculiar traits of a printed text. There are physical and organoleptic elements that a video or a keyboard cannot never replace. A book triggers a physical relationship; it turns on all the five senses, and even the sixth one. It makes you feel personal, unique emotions: the smell of paper, the weight, the font used to write the characters of the text, the smooth and rough pages and covers, the format size, the portability, the colours, and the silence in a library or the bustle in a train. In other words, there is whole body interaction that Laura Scopa does not miss when she decides to create ceramics artist’s books.

She comes from the books, she knows how to create it, especially by using engravings. Her unexpected convergence with ceramics turns new pages, which she decides to bind, as they were a real text.

Apparently a paradox, but, to speak truly, ceramic is the material of knowledge. For millennia, history has devolved on clays, so it has been canonised by Attican craters, Egyptian urns, Japanese cups, and so on.

Ceramic is the material used to tell the story of cultures; it represents a photographic film that men have been engraving for centuries. There was a time when it was a professional craft, and, today, so is it to Laura.

Her aim as a ceramicist bookseller is “the need to overcome physical hindrances” by empowering compactness and high temperature of the stoneware (grès) to manage the lightness of a landscape etched with a metal needle and the transparency of a text written with paintbrush. Here, there is an uninterrupted play between contained and container, yet signifier and signified.

Laura chooses weight and rigidity of the ceramic pages to handle her emotional container, her personal paper story.

Elisabetta Bovina

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