“Only in the workshops of craftsmen and the studios of artists, inhabited by visionary creators and traders of beauty, does material seem to take on the true forms of its destiny”: with these words Francesco Cataluccio introduces the volume dedicated to the forty years of activity of the Milanese ceramist Guido De Zan. From the title – An idea of lightness – the peculiarity of De Zan's work on ceramics emerges, that is, his intention to “lighten” the material and to seek a balance, however unstable. The book, edited by Eugenio Alberti Schatz and Anty Pansera, guides the reader on a discovery of the evolution of De Zan’s work, through different subjects, techniques and materials. From the new opening texts – by Francesco Cataluccio, Anty Pansera, Eugenio Alberti Schatz and Guido De Zan – we move on to a rich catalogue of works, divided into categories. The book closes with a section that includes a critical anthology, some writings that emphasise the fundamental themes of De Zan’s research, from the relationship between art and manual labour to the relationship with the city of Milan, and a project note, with contributions from Paola Lenarduzzi (book design), Licia Cicala (documentation of the works) and Regina Recht (photo story).
Guido De Zan was born in Milan in 1947. In 1974, after having worked for eight years assisting children with mental disabilities, he graduated in Sociology from the University of Trento. In 1975 he began his research in the field of ceramics, using stoneware and porcelain to create both sculptures and objects of use. In 1978 in Milan, next to the Colonne di San Lorenzo, he opened Il Coccio, the workshop with a ceramic kiln where he still works today. Generations of assistants and students from all over the world have passed through here. He lives and works in Milan.