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No title, terracotta and plastic acetate, variable measures, 2016



Julen Ussia Guillén | Spanien | Intonation 2020

Julen works on developing different personal exploratory paths to propose different hypothesis and new possibilities in furniture and domestic-like objects. His criterion is almost exclusively limited to the search for support points and more or less stable structures on which the gravity, tension and structurality between materials and volumes can suggest a certain sense of usability of those constructions.

Tradition, improvisation and random come into play through minimally altered industrial materials as steel plates, formica or acetates. There are no permanent or locked joints. Structures are built and disassembled sistematicaly until finding something worth being registered. In short, he is interested in hybrid systems, on which ceramics play a special roll. Systems that work as quick methods to think, almost like sketches made of gestures and materials.

He questions preconceptions about the idea of the useful or functional things, wondering what it means to be a "usable object", what "means to be a chair or a table". He is interested in studying how materials are translated into usable forms, playing between a physical or mental conception of the usability of objects. Shapes and volumes do not cease to be agents for communication and participation. He looks closely to small details in everyday life, spetially in how people improvise to generate instant solutions, he is excited about how people live around the world adapting to their surroundings and doing things with the most basic materials and resources they can find. He is comfortable working with simple forms, straight and clean lines to reach fresh and skillful solutions. This way, craftmanship, a continuous process of synthesis by itself, continues to provide new and recurring keys on issues related to optimization, the efficiency of human effort as well as the minimum use of energy and resources to question the future of objects he will produce, use and waste.

Working process

I build my work in a quite intuitive, random and precarious way. Many times, precarious things become more effective when it refers to communication or stablishing a discussion. It could remind a kind of luxury made with very simple and humble materials. Working that way I find unexpected and new solutions, at least for myself. My working process is like an orchard that I`m growing. In the meantime it is feeding me to continue growing.

Some of them look like finished objects but other seem to be an idea of something about to come. Right now, Im more interested in cyclical processes and systems in Art and Design more than focusing on linear processes that end in a finished object. I think the eternal discussion between Art / Design is out of date, so I like to move freely among these preconceived questions. Im interested in studying our behavior versus ceramics,even if they are ideas, daily use objects or leftover materials. First step is to throw thin and lightweight pieces on the wheel. I need a lo of concentration here as they are technically difficult due to their size. This is a continous learning process. I don`t usually measure those pieces, i make them in many different sizes. That way, i force myself to combine and creating relationships between shapes in the next phase.

When pieces are fired and strong, i can start combining them with other materials and shapes. As I said, my criterion is almost focused on finding stable structures and flat surfaces. When i find an interesting combination, I take a photo, and start the process again. That`s when i like to introduce a new material to continue finding new possibilities. Sometimes, a new exhibition is the perfect excuse to do it.

Nowadays, generating a low environmental impact is basic. Thats why I`m trying to make jointless objects and somehow, things that can go back or return to previous states of their production process. It`s very difficult to manage the idea of reversibility in ceramic objects but this is how I`m trying it now. The idea of perfection is very complex. We don`t need perfect things. We need to make mistakes, we need to doubt and ask ourselves how are we producing Art, Design, Arhitecture or wathever. I feel close to a responsible use of resources as well as a minimization of the environmental impact. Somehow, that big idea of perfection could follow a bit those ideas. Maybe in the future, it will be more relevant to think the way we do things instead of what we do.