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Talking with hands: Mirta Morigi

 It takes courage to face the daily wager with fire

professor at LCLM institute London

Florence, Italy

Elisa Gradi

 It takes courage to face the daily wager with fire; you need an emotional complicity with the substance, you need to look at it as if it was the only site where the fantasy and the power of creation light up and reach the freedom. Mirta Morigi is daughter of that oblivious knowledge of moulding , which draws lymph from the ground ; her quick, intense, confident gesture, her intuitive “talking by means of her hands” tastes of a ritual that is being celebrated since the dawn of times in the “botteghe faentine”, and that makes of the culture of ceramics an all-absorbing experience. After all, her technique is never accidental: it is always a crucial element in the expressive features of her works, the means that puts an artist in a deep relationship with its own creative process. Mirta has always had an essential, profound relationship with ceramic: maybe for the formal conciseness which enables her to shape promptly a silhouette that grows in her imagination, and then is improved with a brightful chromatic surface to give life to those fantastic creatures that Mirta has been singing from decades. 

A “Bottega” whole in the feminine the Mirta’s, that just this year has reached its fifty years of work built on a stable and proud claim of the work, on by appreciating the value of the ancient handicraft, ennobled by the research of an exclusive style that, without any presumption, imposes itself with regard to naturalness and technical mastery.

Experimentation and breeziness in performance go along the path of the tradition again, even though a new tradition, made of sparkling emphasis on colours and liveliness in shapes, made of a quivering substance, with an inner tension, made of improvisation and imaginative fluctuations, ruled by an unusual and disruptive ironic impetus. It is from here that Mirta Morigi starts to create her decorations, gathered in different families of animals, repeated in innumerable varieties: little owls, frogs, lizards, chameleons, freely moving upon the surfaces of vases, they lean winking over the edge of bowls and cups, complying their bodies with the shapes, putting their long tails around the objects; they style and mould the shapes by means of their weight, mingling themselves with the deep green or the vivid red from which they suddenly seem to pop up. Captivating, nonchalantly and allusive “iconografia”that, joined with the sheen of the glazes in a “crescendo” of lightened shades, leads, year after year, the Bottega Morigi to unmistakable features: through her fairy-tales images, Mirta conveys the essence of her creativity avoiding, by means of a fantastic always-in-ferment artistic mood, the barren serial nature of a formula, by giving every single piece of art the preciousness of an unique specimen In her latest works Mirta has turned to strong symbolic reminders pieces, full of intense lyrical emotions. She gave birth to pots and shapes that refer to cosy curved female bodies: thanks to dreamlike and smiley faces standing out next to protruding breasts and mellow wombs, she restores evoking visions related to alternative spaces and further reading plans. In these works she temporarily renounces to her typical flaming and brighting tones to crystallize the shape in full-colored backgrounds, white or colourless sometime, to bring out the nude tone of terra cotta. 

Over the years, her ceramics characterized by this happy bestiary has taken her to public and private collections all over the world, from Australia to China, from India to Korea and Japan. From each place Mirta has brought back suggestions that have allowed her to enrich her personality, dominated by a creative maturity always open to new aesthetic suggestions, to new, fresh, cultural stimuli. It is what has earned her, recently, important recognitions such as membership in the International Academy of Ceramics in Geneva based in the Ariana Museum, as well as the title of Master of Arts and Crafts, conferred by the Cologni Foundation. 

“These trips to cities of ancient ceramics tradition known throughout the world of which Faenza luckily is part - says Mirta - has allowed me to hold workshops and conferences and to generate exchange technical and cultural experiences with teachers and students of ceramics, renewing and adding new ideas to my already magical craft. And the magic is that every day I can learn a new technique and listen to what the earth, water and fire have to say in all languages, at last coming to a common language that is the language of ceramics.” Mirta recounts these experiences with joy and excitement, which are part of her vocation. She has got an innate sensitivity to manipulate light, the alchemical synthesis of colors and dreamlike imagery, which takes an all woman team force to bring to life. A challenge that Mirta and her girls are capable of conquering every day.

Elisa Gradi 2022