Lam et Les Magiciens de la Mer


After the great anthological exhibition travelled from the Centre Pompidou (2015) to the Reina Sofia and the Tate Modern (2016-2017), and twenty years after the last retrospective exhibition of Wifredo Lam organised at Albissola Marina (where Lam lived permanently from the late fifties until the late seventies), the Ceramics Museums of Savona and Albissola are presenting a study in depth of the great Cuban Surrealist from 2 June to 24 September 2023.

The focus of the exhibition and the complementary catalogue is Lam’s ceramic work (Sagua La Grande, 1902 – Paris, 1982), compared with coeval pottery by a broad selection of international artists who shared Lam’s life and work at the kilns of the Albisole in the 50s and 60s. The theme of the exhibition – which at that time recurs in the research of the European neo-avant-garde, especially with a neo-Surrealist matrix – is that of totemic figures and primordial signs, mysterious archetypes of otherworldly, sacred, invisible existences and languages. The artists included in this dialogue with Wifredo Lam are Enrico Baj, Roberto Crippa, Ansgar Elde, Lucio Fontana, Franco Garelli, Asger Jorn, Maria Papa Rostkowska, Mario Rossello, Rinaldo Rossello and Eva Sørensen. About forty works by Lam, to which are added some thirty works by other artists, including many previously unpublished, produced in collaboration with the artisans of the Mazzotti and San Giorgio pottery kilns of the Albisole.

The title of the exhibition and the catalogue Lam et Les Magiciens de la Mer, recovers and continues the reflection stemming from the major exhibition held at the Centre Pompidou in 1989 in Paris – Magiciens de la Terre – in the awareness that the study of exhibition systems is fundamental to understanding our view of ourselves and the way we construct (and recount) the history of art and culture. The “magicians of the sea” are therefore represented here by Lam and artists from around the world, engaged in the creation of monsters, spirits, totems and primordial figures in post-war Albisola, but above all ceramic craftworkers, custodians of the alchemical secrets of matter and fire.

A part of the exhibition, with the title Lam entre mares. De Albisola a La Habana, will be transferred to the Museo Nacional de la Cerámica Contemporánea Cubana in Havana from December 2023 to March 2024.

Trilingual edition: Italian, English and Spanish. Translations by Stephanie Carwin [English] and Norberto Hernández Sánchez [Spanish].

24 x 30
Year of publication
Trilingual Ita/Eng/Spa