The attraction of ceramics: Cross interview in partnership with Revelations

On the occasion of Révélations, Biennale of Crafts and Contemporary Creation, Ateliers d'Art de France and the Paul Bert Serpette market organized the meeting between a designer and an antiques dealer around a common theme.
Cross interview produced and realized by Ateliers d'Art de France, organizer of the event.
Revelations - May 23 to 26, 2019, Grand Palais

Agnès Nivot is a ceramist. After living Ireland and United States, she continued to train in France and today created pieces from her own workshop. Edouard Demachy, antiques dealer in Paul Bert Serpette in the fleas of Saint-Ouen , is a passionate about ceramics. Strong of his past of collector and gallerist, the market has no secret for him.

Tell us in a few words what characterizes your work?

Agnès Nivot: Today, I do a lot of containers, which I love, but I was also influenced by my passion for sculpture. I went to an archeological work where I felt I was going back in time ... until prehistory Initially, the colors were rather warm like those of Lascau and then, I came to put only black, because it is what remains on the vestiges That brought me to a Symbolic work by the forms but also very refined There is no more beautiful, more simple ...

Edouard Demachy: My job is to make love and discover ceramics to private collectors or even neophytes. It is especially to share my passion, because pieces that I present come a lot of me, my taste ... It's an emotion that I want to share with the person in front of me, I want to hear "It's amazing! What is it ? "

You both have a common favorite field, ceramics, what brought you there?

Edouard Demachy: I started to buy a little over 20 years ago ... this palette of fantastic colors, as well in pastels as in shades stronger or matte, and the variety of forms led me to this passion. Touch is also very important and gives a very sensual aspect to the ceramic.

Agnès Nivot: It's true ... I would not know how to say it but when I touched it ... it was a real meeting. And then I had the chance to have access to a workshop where I could go without be supervized. I worked on a corner of a table, I made my little pots and I could try to wheel thrown alone. Generally, the place of the workshop is very important for me.

In your respective activities, what is your relationship to time and transmission?

Agnès Nivot: I was talking about the workshop, which is a particular place in terms of time. It's a time of work, where there are so many stages of manufacture, that it ends up to mixing. But this is finally the piece that determines it and which punctuates the clocks. My workshop is quite paradoxical, it is entrenched on a courtyard, but the world goes by, especially because I teach there. So it is both isolated and open. And time serves me to transmit and share.

Edouard Demachy: as a merchant, I pass on a story, a time of the past to my clients. First, I say nothing, I look at the reaction of the person who came into my shop and when I see that he likes, I will try to see what interests him to go to his contact. We will then enter in a specific field, whether in terms of colors, mesh etc. And sometimes it's very interesting ... especially when I'm dealing with collectors who are very conoisseur. We never finished learning in the crafts and the profession of antiques dealer. So, there is really a transmission that is infinite

Agnes, when you work on a play, do you imagine her life in several years or decades?

Agnès Nivot: I'm going to say "no" but it's true that I happened to tell myself "it will remain indefinitely". We are still in the world of ceramics! But I do not imagine my ceramics elsewhere than in my workshop. When I present a piece, I try to be completely satisfied. otherwise, she does not go out. It is difficult because there is no go back with ceramic. But when it works, I say "this one, it will live its life ... I hope" ...

Edouard Demachy: it's interesting and that explains why there were signed pieces and some not. For the ceramic pieces of the 50's, the ones that were signed were considered as successful so they were good for sale. On the other hand, for those who were not, it meant that something had not worked. So they remained in the workshop. Then, at the closing of these workshops, the pieces were scattered so that we find in the trade today unsigned pieces.

Edouard, how do you select the pieces you offer? How do you know that they will be appreciated, noticed, bought?

Edouard Demachy: the financial aspect and the notion of value are very important elements. The work of the dealer, is to present some artists, to raise them, to sell them and sometimes, to propose them in auction. This case is specific, we will follow the sale and above all, we will push so that the prices swell and that the ratings increase. So there are two aspects, the aesthetic aspect, I must like it to sell the object, and in a second time, the financial aspect. However, that does not prevent me from presenting some contemporary artists whose value is not made and there , I enjoy creating a market and setting up a financial value.

How do you integrate the buyer into your selection / creation process?

Edouard Demachy: we observe the sales, art fairs and therefore we see the reactions of clients. We know which artists will interest them. There are several types of clients: there is the "financial" customer who will buy a value; he is not going to be interested in the object because he considers that he is making a placement, and there is the passionate, who will not have financial constraints. This one can go to less known pieces or even anonymous because he will understand the strength of the object and that it corresponds to what he is looking for. The price will not be a problem because he wants to claim this piece. And then, it happens too, knowing the tastes of my customers, to buy by immediately identifying the one to whom I will sell it.

Agnès Nivot: For my part, I do not really integrate the buyer; although the report to the sale is still present in a certain way. During the shows, I am trying to make a presentation to my taste, sober and elegant, and then I retreat. I consider that I finished from that moment. It's the first thing: to see someone who stops and the attraction that is created. I really tend to say "It's not me who sells, it's the person who buys"

Read the interview on the site of Révélations