GAZELL.iO welcomes our December artist in residence, Yassi Mazandi. Yassi's works were recently displayed at our virtual gallery space on Spatial.io in partnership with OpenSea.
WORDS BY YASSI MAZANDI
Nature and my reaction to it, both conscious and subconscious, are the driving forces behind my art. I have always been fascinated by the natural world: its structure, geometry and symmetry. Much as nature and science do, I believe that art should evolve, adapt and invent.
As a child, I loved the architecture and the endless variations of snowflakes. My favourite pursuits included hunting for fossils on the coast of Dorset and finding rocks and crystals anywhere I went. Years later, I started working with clay, experimenting without restrictions, both on and off the potter’s wheel, with a sense of total freedom; I found myself fascinated by clay’s properties of elasticity and plasticity and that it was made rigid through fire. Clay reignited my passion and allowed me to articulate my connection to the earth.
My signature geometric flower sculptures started to take form after a visit to the Natural History Museum in London: I noticed the skeleton of a dinosaur, especially its tail, and was fascinated by the articulation of the vertebrae. Each piece fits into the next in the most extraordinarily simple way. Somewhere along the line, between my longstanding interest in the structure of snowflakes and my looking at the dinosaur tail, something clicked and made sense. I started creating floral vertebrae and spinal columns with an engineered symmetry and a sense of Mother Nature.
My sculpted ceramics, including the flowers and ceremonial vessels, are handmade and thrown on a potter’s wheel. The process is a subtractive one (rather than additive); I cut and carve the pulled flanges by hand, making each unique. By virtue of the complexity of these carved forms, many of them do not survive either, first, the carving process or, second, the multiple kilns firing process.
Being self-taught involves constant experimentation. I enjoy expanding my creative frontiers and see no limits between materials: I mainly use clay (particularly porcelain) in my practice and create works in bronze, acrylic lucite, paper on canvas. In recent years, I have been merging my traditional hand-intensive physical works into the digital realm.
Since 2004, I have been selectively scanning my handmade sculptures. I did this without initially knowing exactly how I would end up using the data, but it was with a view to future works. Numerous subsequent relevant technological innovations have allowed me to do the very thing I hoped for, namely, to expand my practice: in 2019, I completed my first video artwork and, in 2021, my first NFT and AR work. These digital works involve various manipulations of X-Rays from my physical sculptures. They are all Born-Porcelain.
It will be intriguing to see how my art evolves.