Sgrafo vs Fat Lava
Céramiques et porcelaines Made in West Germany, 1960-1980

From November 5, 2010, until February 5, 2011
Opening on November 4, 2010, from 6pm

Céramiques et porcelaines Made in West Germany, 1960-1980
With a sound piece by Seth Price

For the beginning of the month of November 2010 with the exhibition of a collection of historical ceramics from the 1960s – 1980s, we will be crossing from the field of art into the field of the object, nevertheless not fully abandoning the first one to the second. Almost a hundred pieces covering different styles and production processes will let us discover through a utilitarian and decorative object the different aesthetic variations of a prolific and stylistically free period, when common taste allowed itself to be kitsch and delirious. An era before the supremacy of design that is going to format most of our daily objects.
The exhibition, entitled « Sgrafo vs Fat Lava, Ceramics and Porcelains Made in West Germany, 1960-1980 », is accompanied by a little book published for the occasion by JRP/Ringier (Zurich) in its « Hapax » series : Sgrafo vs Fat Lava.

Presenting this series of ceramics produced between the 1960s and the 1980s and often called Fat Lava or West German Ceramic/Pottery suggests an ironical and playful association with the field of edition. It underlines issues that are mutually and regularly discussed and that question the constant reevaluation between art and function, art and design, or even a certain know-how, especially since artists’ and designers’ recent interest in the revival of handicrafts.
The set suggested by curator Nicolas Trembley for his collection of ceramics and porcelains examines several notions. It considers questions of evolution in shapes and patterns, questions about the common taste, the decorative, the multiplicity of objects and their quasi-industrial or traditional production, reflects on collection as such and the transition from an ordinary object to a fetishized one. Transforming the exhibition space – literally by a work of « decoration » – will stage the particular and unwritten history of these ceramics.
This group of objects mixes without hierarchy good and bad taste, throws light on this eternal back and forth between a so-called « popular » taste and its appropriation by « vintage » and points at changing trends. It also examines the recurrent question of the crafts and the decorative shifting more or less recently into the field of contemporary art. Drawn by the obsessional research of a collector, it is an exotic and critical try to detect the ever vacillating and ever discussed limits between a thing that is « in » or very frankly « out », between sinking into oblivion or being revived, between common taste became artistic and chic.
In an easy manner, for the pleasure of the eyes and with a feeling of déjà-vu, we discover through this exhibition a nomenclature of forms and colours jollier, more uninhibited and amusing than the one belonging to ordinary art history. The aesthetics of these vases are playing with the typical and even folklore. In parallel, in the 1960s – 1980s, the most productive period, the spirit of the seventies with its return to nature favoured textured surfaces, imitating shells, barks and fossils. Though some more minimalistic forms, inspired by Bauhaus, structure the construction of these objects (vases, pots,…), their decorative language remains closer to Pop and Op-Art than to pure minimalism. Some pieces reveal a more « futuristic » inspiration, in immaculate white enamel recalling Pierre Cardin creations, Jacques Tati sets or Jean-Christophe Averty tv-animations (for the very Pop ones).

« But all vases aren’t the same. If some of them have an insignificant appearance others are simply extraordinary and cleary more innovative than actual design. During forty years in the very heart of an economic boom, creators enjoyed unprecedented freedom. […] The designers have succeded in capturing the spirit of the times in its forms, referring to the Cubism of Braque or the Op-Art of Vasarely for example. Design becomes more geometric and borrows the fluid lines and the primary colours from Verner Panton or some futuristic shapes from science fiction and flying saucers. The soft Hippie movement and political protest finds its formal expression in biomorphic vases recalling the psychedelic architecture of Antti Lovag or minor and hand-crafted production of macramé and pieces out of streched-out threads. The spiritual quest of the time, the attempt of a return to nature are echoed by vases with a decor evoking cosmogony, imitating tree barks, mushrooms and cristals, the aspect of fossils and stones, the depths of oceans – shells and corals. Other designers refer to experimentations of modernist Bauhaus architecture and create brutalist objects covered in roughcast.
It is without doubt the famous glaze today called « Fat Lava » that characterizes this production. Made out of several layers of enamels and chemical components reacting variously to fire, this technique engenders a surface of lava flows and craters. From then on, German ceramics take the road of a peculiar decor that reaches unique swellings and plastic exaggerations in the history of forms. »
(Quoted from Nicolas Trembley’s introduction to the book Sgrafo vs Fat Lava, published by JRP/Ringier in the collection Hapax, and edited at the occasion of the exhibition at the CEC.)

A book, Sgrafo vs Fat Lava, linked to the display of this particular collection is published for this occasion by JRP/Ringier in the « Hapax » series. The book will be launched at the Centre d’édition contemporaine during the exhibition. It comprises an introduction by Nicolas Trembley – Madeleine de Proust et Fat Lava –, a discussion between French designer Ronan Bouroullec and Nicolas Trembley, an essay by an art historian specialized in the history of German ceramics of the 1950s, Horst Makus with Formes, couleurs et décors, un survol. It also shows around twenty

reproductions of the historically, technically and stylistically most significant models produced by these factories of Southern and Western Germany.
Curator of the exhibition : Nicolas Trembley
The exhibition is presented at FRAC Champagne-Ardenne, Reims, from March 18 until April 24, 2011, and at the Galerie Kreo, Paris, from May 20 until July 23, 2011.

The Publication :
Sgrafo vs Fat Lava
Book, French, bound, 105 x 165 mm, 64 pages, 22 colour pictures. Summary : Nicolas Trembley (ed.), Madeleine de Proust et Fat Lava (introduction); text by Horst Makus, Formes, couleurs et décors. Un survol; Interview of Ronan Bouroullec by Nicolas Trembley. Graphic design : Gavillet & Rust / Eigenheer, Geneva. Publisher : JRP|Ringier (Hapax collection), Zurich, 2011. ISBN 978-3-03764-163-7.
Sgrafo vs. Fat Lava
Book, English, bound, 105 x 165 mm, 64 pages, 22 colour pictures. Summary : Nicolas Trembley (ed.), Proust’s Madeleine and Fat Lava (introduction); text by Horst Makus, Form, Color, and Decoration: An Overview; Interview with Ronan Bouroullec by Nicolas Trembley. Graphic design : Gavillet & Rust / Eigenheer, Geneva. Publisher : JRP|Ringier (Hapax collection), Zurich, 2012. ISBN 978-3-03764-277-1


Complete list
of exhibitions


Fabian Marti
Such a Good Girl


Open accrochage, editions
The CEC at P.A.G.E.S. Salon du livre d’artiste et de l’imprimé contemporain, Genève
Spring Sale Time
LE CEC à la LA Art Book Fair 2019
Matthew Lutz-Kinoy
What to wear to a concert? Tips for concert outfits: wear your best punk jacket with the right patches !
“A patch meant to be fixed to the back of your jacket depicting relevant cultural affiliations”


Matthew Lutz-Kinoy
The Meadow
Salon MAD#4 (Multiple Art Days)
Paris 2018
Victor Man invites Navid Nuur
Valentin Carron, Marc Camille Chaimowicz, François Curlet…


Jonathan Monk
Directional Advice
Thomas Hirschhorn
Edited by the CEC!
Focus: Mélanie Matranga
Jean-Michel Wicker
Book Launch c/o Section 7 Books, Paris
Jean-Michel Wicker
Book Launch c/o SALTS, Birsfelden/Basel
Presentation of the edition
Jean-Michel Wicker
Jakob Kolding
The Outside or the Inside of the Internalised Externalised
Jean-Michel Wicker
BBiblioteca ffanafffantastica
Presentation of the edition
Jean-Michel Wicker
Belle étiquette


Presentation of the book
Mathis Gasser
In the Museum 1 2 (3),
Regulators 1 2 n
Presentation of the edition
Artists’ Voices
Valentin Carron
Deux épaisseurs un coin
Mathis Gasser
Sept sont tombés vers le ciel
Works on paper
Artists’ Voices


Artists’ Voices
I Never Read, Art Book Fair Basel 2015
Jason Dodge
David Maljkovic
Konstantin Grcic


Raphaël Julliard
Oriol Vilanova
Renoncer à te décrire


Artissima, Turin
NY Art Book Fair
David Hominal
Through The Windows
Jonathan Monk


Salon Light #9, Paris
NY Art Book Fair
Oscar Tuazon
Salon des Dames
Jeffrey Vallance
The Vallance Bible
Nouvelles éditions
Oscar Tuazon
Book Launch c/o Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zürich


Aaron Flint Jamison
Philippe Decrauzat
Book Launch c/o Motto Zürich
Abstractions sentimentales et quelques éditions, Cneai, Paris
Philippe Decrauzat
Gerard Byrne
For example; a sketch of Five Elevations, 1971-72
Presentation of the book
Sgrafo vs Fat Lava


Présentation de l’édition de Pierre Bismuth Something Less, Something More – DIY
Sgrafo vs Fat Lava
Céramiques et porcelaines Made in West Germany, 1960-1980
Susanne M. Winterling
They Called Each Other Horses
Changement d’accrochage: Heimo Zobernig
Fröhliche Gesellschaft,
Parrotta Contemporary Art, Stuttgart


Editions vs. objets
Erik van Lieshout
The Assistant
T. Quelques possibilités de textes
EDITIONS (suite…)
Présentation du catalogue
L’Effet papillon, 1989-2007,
castillo/corrales, Paris


EDITIONS (2004-2008)
Presentation of
L’Effet papillon, 1989-2007
at Maison de la poésie, Basel
Trisha Donnelly
L’Effet papillon, 1989-2007
Olivier Bardin
You belong to me I belong to you
Editions récentes


Gianni Motti
Perpetual Channel
Anne-Julie Raccoursier
Wireless World, BAC, Genève
Otra de Vaqueros (Redux), BAC, Genève
Habitat/Variations, BAC, Genève
Markus Schinwald, BAC, Genève
Andreas Dobler
In Deep Ink, BAC, Genève


The Missing Evidence
Accrochage des éditions 1995-2005
Marie Velardi
Futurs antérieurs, 20006


Christophe Rey
Ocean Bluff
Quelques éditions…
No More Lights On My Starguitar


Florian Pumhösl
Héliogravures et film
M/M (Paris)
Pour hoM/Me,
printemps-été 2004
Mai-Thu Perret
Love thy sister like thyself
Haroutioun Simonian
Performance (à huis clos) & installation vidéo


Filière papier – Filière expo
Monica Bonvicini
Accrochage de l’édition
Finger No. 12
Jakob Kolding
Amy O’Neill et Emmanuel Piguet


Karl Holmqvist
Soirée tropicale
Animation: Vidéos
Rosemarie Trockel
Edition, eaux-fortes, 1996
Monica Bonvicini
Bonded Eternmale


Social Hackers
Fabrice Gygi
Vidya Gastaldon & Jean-Michel Wicker


Editions 2000
Bring the Noise
Bourse du CGGC 1997-1999


Evil Talk: Beyond the pleasure principle
Thomas Hirschhorn
Elke Krystufek
In the Arms of Luck


One Step Backwards: Books,
prints, videos, 1998
LISTE 98, The Young Art Fair,
Usine Warteck, Bâle


Multiples of the Centre genevois de gravure contemporaine
Elena Montesinos
Tune out, Turn off, Drop in
Eté 97
Stan Douglas
Hinrich Sachs

B. Toguo Tamokoué
Gravures et Multiples


Heimo Zobernig
Alexandre Bianchini,
Nicolás Fernández,
Jérôme Hentsch
Alain Julliard
Kristin Oppenheim
Rosemarie Trockel


Thomas Hirschhorn
Les Plaintifs, les Bêtes, les Politiques
Karen Kilimnik
Editions of the Centre genevois de gravure contemporaine
Luc Tuymans
Le Verdict
Claude Lévêque
Sans titre
Estampes et photographies
Yves Gevaert éditeur, Bruxelles


Olivier Mosset
Claude Closky
Alexandre Bianchini

Hubert Mean
Alex Hanimann
Peintures, édition


Giuseppe Penone
Images de pierres
Sigurdur Arni Sigurdsson
Peintures, dessins
Gerry Schum
Fernseh und Videogalerie
John M Armleder
Ian Anüll
Dessins, sérigraphies et éditions
Claude Gaçon


Éditions, 1986-1992
John M Armleder
Jean Stern
Panini alle melanzane
Stephan Landry
Marie Sacconi


Laurence Pittet
Suzanne Lafont
Marcel Broodthaers
Œuvres graphiques, 1964-1975
Jean-Michel Othoniel
¡ Capotes !


Roman Signer
Installation hélicoptère, 1990
Jean-Marc Meunier
Sapins de Noël, 1988-1989
Anne Pesce
Pêcheur, c’est lui qui devient un poisson
Andreas Hofer
Installation – édition


Henri Michaux
Encres, gouaches, aquarelles, lavis
Emmett Williams
Andreas Gursky
Stéphane Brunner
Mori Shigeru