The Milanese ceramist Guido De Zan, born in 1947, was perhaps inspired by the verses of poet Mario Luzi:
“I wish to arrive at the passage with little, essential baggage
free from the many useless, inertial weights and ballasts
with which the tragic and fatuous epoch
has overloaded us […]
We need a kind of purifying fire
from the pointless talking
that we have lapsed into
and in which we revel.”
De Zan’s is indeed a journey intertwined with fire and essentiality. He often works with Raku, a Japanese technique that requires large open spaces to allow flames to express themselves freely, to impress the shape of each resulting object with a typical streamlined style.
Ceramics is a challenging craft, based on a complex method that must be learned and practiced for years before truly mastering it. De Zan did not sit at the potter’s wheel until he was twenty-eight – after graduating in Sociology from Trento’s University and eight years in welfare work with children with mental disabilities.
In 1978, he opened in Milan his own kiln-equipped workshop, Il Coccio, where he creates sculptures and everyday objects in stoneware and porcelain, but also works on drypoint and etching. And where he has taught the secrets of fire and essentiality to countless apprentices.