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The Strange Ceramics of Vitor Reis

Words:

Edd Norval
July 19, 2019

There is a surrealist element to the sculptures of Vitor Reis. His ceramics are a nod to classics - clean, bold and interesting, but give them a fresh angle, a new perspective on the same old same old.

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Angolan born, but raised and talent-honed in Portugal's Caldas da Rainha and Lisbon, he spent his youth surrounded by ceramic influences. The town itself has a rich heritage, but so does his family. Reis comes from a family of three generations of traditional potters.


His knowledge and mastery of classics is evident in his work. It is with the deftest touches that he manages to make something real and relatively ordinary seem strange - but not the kind of strange that makes you wonder what or why, it's a subtle strangeness that might only register on second-glances.

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Humour is present too. It's an ever-present but understated flavour note in his tasty treatment of the pieces. Whether it's the leaves of a plant taking control of the pot or a 'heavy' brick that can fly, there is sure to be a twist. These make the audience reconsider the traditional aspects of the object and why a minor adjustment or addition has totally changed, not only the composition of the object, but its meaning and significance.


It's not only the finished project that shows Vitor Reis' willingness to play and experiment, but the process as well. He embraces the role of artist, craftsman, designer and ceramicist, employing various techniques from conception to completion - embodying his notion of total freedom, limited only by his imagination.

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