To say that ceramic art is embedded in the DNA of Paolo Polloniato is certainly no exaggeration. He was born in 1979 in Nove, a small town between Venice and Vicenza. The town is situated on deposits of fine earthenware clay used in the production of the maiolica pottery and ceramics for which it has been famous since the Renaissance. Members of his family have been renowned as master artisans for over nine generations, directly linked to the art of painting and creation of Italy’s finest artistic ceramics. Today, Nove still attracts collectors from all over the world looking for the best Italian handcrafted ceramic art pieces, religious objects and other hand painted decorative ceramics in the classic Nove style.
Polloniato attended the Accademia di Belle Arti in Venice under esteemed Professor Gaetano Mainenti and obtained his diploma with distinction in 2007. Presently, he lives and works in both Brussels and his native Italy. Widely exhibited in both solo and group shows throughout Italy and in France (Vallauris and Paris), this is Polloniato’s first exhibition in Puls.
Critics have been unanimous that he has indeed added a new and perhaps crowning dimension to the family business. This is work that is distinctively of his own. It utilices classic molds that have been in his family for hundreds of years and made available only to him. He incessantly explores new areas for expanding the possibilities of ceramic art with creative research into materials and communication.
He has achieved this while at the same time employing the opportunities presented by these ancient molds and the designs they yield. He creates hybrid forms that are at once trapped by time with classic imagery yet simultaneously employing a vast range of cultural contexts that are both comfortably familiar yet seemingly completely out of synchronicity. Polloniato’s story telling embraces diverse approaches to comment upon modern life with classical and contemporary allusions.
These still lifes may at first appear merely whimsical, but they will invariably take on far deeper implications upon closer study. With his uniquely skillful mix of underground and popular culture and a profound appreciation of ceramic classicism, history and techniques, this is work that creates a contemporary collage of tradition and modernity conjoined in urban society. Those who truly look cannot but be inundated by a tsunami of the discordant colliding with the harmonious, the traditional with utter surprise and the inevitability of the razor’s edge of change.