Enrico Stropparo ceramics Italian Ceramic Masters Enrico Stropparo
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Alessio Tasca was born in Nove (Vicenza) in 1929.
He frequented the local Art School and in 1945 he entered the Venice Art Institute where the teachings of Arturo Martini were very much alive and where new trends were being experimented. In 1948 he returned to Nove and taught ceramics in evening classes. He founded the laboratory “Tasca Artigiani Ceramisti” with his brothers Marco and Flavio. He was disappointed in his first traditional production and so turned to a more modern style: sgraffito plates with a green or brown background.
His sgraffito plates and his plastic groups with a religious bent (awarded a prize at the Angelicum in Milan in 1950) were quite successful and with Giò Ponti’s backing, they were presented at the Triennale in Milan in 1951. In the same year he obtained his teaching diploma with the Art Institute of Florence. Here he became acquainted with Mario Morelli, the ceramist and glaze expert who then prepared specific shades of colours specifically for the laboratory of the Tasca brothers.
In 1952 he took part for the first time in the Biennale in Venice. The Milanese gallerist, Totti, invited him to join him on a touring ceramic exhibition in Germany along with F. Melotti, L. Fontana, P. Pianezzola, A. Fabbri, G. Gambone and R. Bertagnin.
From 1954 he took part in all the ventures of the “Gruppo 9” whose intentions were to rejuvenate local ceramics. In 1957 Engineer Zanchi, head of the Ideal Standard plant in Brescia, invited him to make some small pieces in vitreous china and in 1959 the “Tasca Brothers” received the Palladio Prize in Vicenza with their works in “Morelli green”.
In 1961 he left his brothers and opened up his own workroom concentrating only on sculptures. Here, his works of large dimensions were created such as “Pegaso”, “Manichino a cavallo” and “Eucalipto”.
In the following year he obtained the position of professor of Plastics in the Art Institute in Nove where he remained until 1978. In 1963 he produced a limited series of wheel-thrown objects, noteworthy with the name “lobster red” due to the type of glaze he had used: in this way, his platters were created, his “shields” that were one metre in diameter, his table services that won him yet again the Palladio Prize in 1964 and the chance of a tour in Switzerland with F. Bucci to become acquainted with M. Macarin, a ceramic artist researching the stoneware of B. Leach. In the same year he was awarded the First Prize for Ceramics (together with P. Pianezzola) in the Biennale in Venice in decorative art section.
He visited Denmark and Sweden to better understand the wave of success of Scandinavian design. He then visited England to have more ideas for his renewal of ceramic art.
In 1966 he developed the Italian Centre for Art Production with N. Caruso, F. Bucci, G. Sabadini, R. Bonfanti, S. Marconato, F. Fabbrini and others with the aim of renewing artistic workmanship.
1967 brought a huge change of direction for Tasca in respect of his previous work: the completion of the first extruder with the first examples in a rectangular section, abandoning colours and preferring to use a white, opaque glaze so as to study the pure values of form. In this fresh experimentation, he was backed by his students and among those was E. Stropparo. He took part in the XIV Triennale in Milan with 17 pieces worked with his extruder that he then destroyed during the student protest in a symbol of his support.
Tasca’s ceramics with the extruder have a great success with the critics and the specialist media for their significance as profound renewal. In 1972 the Victoria and Albert Museum in London acquired his “Cornovaso” and later, his “Servizio da Caffè”, both obtained entirely from a horizontal extruder. He also created works using the same technique but made from Plexiglas in the workshops of Fusina di C. Donato, receiving the diploma of Gold Medal at the XV Triennale in Milan.
From here on, his favoured material became fire clay and stoneware, both materials used at high temperatures and from 1974 to 1976, he created some great works: the first spheres were born (obtained from a cylindrical extruder with a grilled die, then progressively cut until the curve of the sphere is obtained) and these took Tasca into the history books of sculpture. By cutting and sectioning the ceramic modules obtained by using the extruder, he investigated the intimate nature of the material, following in the footsteps of L. Fontana and Leoncillo.
In 1978 he took part in Bassano del Grappa in an exhibition of the Venetian group together with F. Bonaldi, C. Fior (who had been his helper in the early sixties), P. Pianezzola and others where he met the German ceramic artist Lee Babel. This was the beginning of what was to become a life-long working partnership that involved them in activities both in Italy and in Germany.
In 1979 he moved to Rivarotta near Nove, to a building of the sixteen hundreds that had in the past had kilns and had been used for firing pottery. He started a long, patient, solitary restoration that took him ten years, that saved the building from destruction and, thanks to the fragments of pottery that he has found and renovated, a small part of the history of the local production of ceramic art has been returned to its former glory.
In 1986 he completed a large vertical extruder that would permit him to start a new cycle of work with objects of greater dimensions.
In 1990 he had a big exhibition in Heilbronn and took part in the exhibition “Fictilia-La ceramica del vicentino” organised by P. Pianezzola and F. Rigon in the Basilica Palladiana in Vicenza.
In 1991 the Comune of Nove invited him to decorate the walls of the ex Manufacture Antonibon to replace the original work that he had done in 1956. He made a new extruder that allowed him to produce huge panels and he inaugurated a new cycle of production creating 74 elements in once-fired stoneware with glazing on which he was able to “engrave” figures that were inspired by local tales of history: placed one beside the other, they reach along the entire length of the wall for 46 metres. Some years later, this inspiration led to a xylographic production that he made with the help of his son Vittore, composed of a file of nine iconic tables, 50cms by 150cms each one. This interest in narrative continued with his revisiting the great fresco of the cycle of the months, situated near the Torre dell’Aquila in the Castle of Buon Consiglio in Trento. From this, with one version in 1995 and another in 1997, he dedicated a composition of 266 panels, 50cm by 50cm each, which were then put on display in a personal anthological exhibition in the same year in the Basilica Palladiana in Vicenza along with a new cycle of extruded sculptures on a squared section.
For M. Paolini’s show “L’Orto” from the original text by Meneghello at the Olympic Theatre in Vicenza, he produced a huge scenographic “intarsia” composed of three hundred plastic elements positioned on the floor of the front of the stage. His son Saverio with other musicians directed and played the music specially composed for the occasion.
In 2000 in Venice, together with Lee Babel and with the help of Pier Carlo Comacchio and Francesco Pevare, he managed to recover a group of life-sized Chinese figures in terracotta, part of a great production of the artist Cai Guo-Qiang, presented at the 48th Venetian Biennale: they were then fired and exhibited in Nove and in Germany.
In 2001 he prepared three dies, each one metre in diameter and prepared new works for the collections of Valdagno and Cittadella. In Genoa he exhibited sculptures from his recent years in the Palazzo Ducale.
The International Museum of Ceramic Design, Civica Raccolta di Terraglia in Laveno Mombello, has dedicated an ample display of his work entitled “Alessio Tasca. Terra e Terra Sette”.






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