Among the ceramic works exhibited at the Changchun Museum a few days ago, one of the works at the entrance of the exhibition hall caught people’s eyes and was always surrounded by visitors for a long time. This is the work Secret created by Paola Grizi, an Italian ceramist.
In the form of a standing fan-shaped open book, this book has dimensions of 32.0×28.0×36.0cm. Its overall tone is milky white. At first glance, the work appears to be an old book that has been flipped through many times, with yellow and wrinkled pages and somewhat damaged edges of pages. The brilliant part of the work is a wide-open eye in the book, staring attentively, looking around in surprise, and trying to explore. When you look at this work, you will be impressed by its peculiar conception and profound meaning and feel an unstoppable impact.
The first impactful concept come to your mind is that knowledge is power. Books present knowledge, information, and a summary of previous experience and human wisdom. The development of society and the progress of mankind are inseparable from the guidance of knowledge. The great Russian writer Gorky once said, “books are the ladder of human progress.” Books contain thoughts, consciousness and concepts of human progress and record the laws and attributes of nature.
Looking closely at the work, we can find that the text on the pages of the book includes both Latin text and Chinese text, which suggests that the world’s culture derive from both East and West and that knowledge is the common wealth of all mankind.
Another shock that brings you is the open eye in the book. Apparently, this eye reflects curiosity, thinking and exploration of the outside world. We know that curiosity and interest are the key factors for doing anything well. The great scientist Newton formulated gravitational theory after watching an apple fall. He asked why the apple fell straight down, rather than sideways or even upward. It was his strong curiosity and great interest in this phenomenon that prompted him to study tirelessly and finally uncover laws of gravity.
Confucius said that learning without thinking will lead to confusion, while thinking without learning will lead to failure. It means that if you don’t think deeply during learning, you will get nothing, but if you only have thinking without learning, there will be no sources of knowledge and thinking will go too far. Work Secret also reveals this cognition. This wide-open eye reveals that this person spares no effort to look around and seek knowledge, with thinking, judging, and searching for the secrets of the world. In the world we live in, good and evil people are mixed up, and there is disturbance one after another. When dealing with things in the world, we should explore truth with analysis, judgment, and identification. We must use insight and knowledge to see this complex world clearly.
In terms of artistic techniques, Paola Grizi combined realism and romanticism and put two special “accidents” together, creating an image of “a wide-open eye in the book” and revealing a profound conception.
All good literary and artistic works shape “a typical image in a typical environment”. The ceramic work Secret does so and it is indeed a unique work.