events 5VIE Design Week 2023 territory


29.03.2023 - 26.05.2023

Fondazione Officine Saffi

presents: Unurgent Argilla by Nina Salsotto Cassina

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5vie event

physical event


Officine Saffi

Via Saffi, 7


9.30-13.00; 14.00-18.30

Fondazione Officine Saffi

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Fondazione Officine Saffi


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Opening: March 28, 6-9 pm

Fondazione Officine Saffi is pleased to present Unurgent Argilla, an exhibition featuring Nina Salsotto Cassina’s research project dedicated to the definition of a method of study and a formal vocabulary that can express the territory through the complex system of narratives stratified in its material structure. The title of the exhibition – formed by juxtaposing the Italian word for clay, argilla, with an invented word reflecting the need to rethink the dimension of time, taking it beyond the rhythms imposed by systems of information and production – is directly linked to the concepts underpinning the launch of this research study in 2019. Shortly after starting experimentation on ceramic technique, during a period spent in her region of origin, the artist found herself re-discovering the area of the Maritime Alps, in a chance encounter with the clay from a natural deposit on Mount Bisalta found during a hike.

That moment marked the start of a method of classification, and the construction of an archive, in which the study of the various soils’ physical properties is combined with the awareness that they play an active role in a complex ecosystem in which the territory is both the subject and object of a process of knowledge interlinking stories, places and people. The series of pots presented at this exhibition are the outcome of a process of research, sourcing, analysis and mapping of different soil samples collected by the artist from more than thirteen natural clay deposits in Italy and France. The exhibition also presents a selection of bibliographical contributions, scientific texts and geographical maps, in addition to a collection of materials and working tools with the aim of revealing the process attitude of the artist’s practice, and the study dimension from which her work is developed.

Each of the collected samples is examined by means of the analysis of its chemical and mineralogical composition. The stratification of geological information revealed in this phase is completed by means of a series of tests requiring considerable time, enabling the expression of a previously unknow mapping and territory narrative within the dimension of the ceramic practice. Therefore, if samples of clay taken from the same area respond differently to the ceramic procedures performed on them, the artist selects just some of them, expressing their uniqueness of narrative through the process of modelling her spherically shaped pots. The repetition of this form allows the material’s individual characteristics to emerge and tell their own story, while also placing the work of the artist-artisan in the stream of a tradition coming every day to a new life through an infinity of small gestures. In this way, the material is put into direct relation with the means of production, within the context of its cultural and territorial background. Rather than limiting the range of possibilities, the rediscovery of this localised dimension of experience reaffirms, in our contemporary world, the ethical values of the alchemical approach that has always nurtured the ceramic process, underpinning the conviction that there is always something more to be discovered.
“Unurgent Argilla” solo show by Nina Salsotto Cassina at Fondazione Officine Saffi, from 29 March to 26 May 2023, ph Nina Salsotto Cassina @officinesaffi #officinesaffi