Hanabi, 2019

porcelain vase, cast aluminium
47 x 27 x 25 cm
Date of acquisition

This work by Geneva artist Christian Gonzenbach complements Safari and You Are Here acquired in 2008 for mudac’s ceramic collection. Hanabi reflects a long-standing exploration of materials in Gonzenbach’s work.

In Japanese, “hana” means flower and “bi” (or “hi”) means fire; the flower of fire, firework or fireworks in English, an allusion to the fire arts practiced by the artist.

“For this work, I took an (ancient) vase, buried it in specially prepared sand, and poured molten aluminium at 800°C into the vase. The heat causes the vase to burst and the aluminium spills out through the cracks. As it cools, the container and the content freeze together. It becomes almost philosophical but it’s very real and aesthetic. The content of the vase, the liquid metal, becomes a kind of cloud, a flower that protrudes from the vase and crystallises. This is a process that I invented, and each vase reacts differently, each flower is unique, through the work of fire and molten metal.” Christian Gonzenbach

Contrasting materials between earth and metal, full and empty, random and controlled, this vase expresses a duality frequently found in the artist’s work.