Albisola Twin City
Contemporary dishes from the ceramic workshop "San Giorgio"
15 June - 5 September, 2021
The friendship association "Albissola Marina - Silkeborg" has Asger Jorn as its focal point.
Jorn lived and worked in the small town of Albissola Marina on the Ligurian Riviera in Italy from 1954 until his death in 1973. He chose Albissola Marina due to a centuries-old craft tradition in ceramics, which can be traced back to the end of the 15th century.
Asger Jorn arrived in Albissola in early April 1954.
He was in poor health and had to live in a tent in the garden of the artist Aligi Sassu for the first time. Shortly afterwards, the older and respected artist Lucio Fontana made his primitive summer studio, in a dark backyard, available as temporary housing, where there was also room for Jorn's family.
He later rented a small, disused store in Albissola as a residence. In 1955 he also acquired an attic room in the 13th arrondissement of Paris, both places were completely without facilities. In the years to come he spent the summers in Albissola and the winters in Paris.
In the summer of 1957, he was finally able to acquire a house on a small mountaintop above Albissola and create a home for the family.
That house was bought by Jorn from an elderly woman, Signora Parzano, and given a lenient installment plan. He had to pay a small monthly amount for some years. After paying the last installment, Jorn gave her a painting that was worth significantly more than what he had paid for the house.
The property was purchased as a ruin, the roof was destroyed, and doors and windows were missing. Jorn renovated the house with the help of his friend, the craftsman Umberto Gambetta. In 1959, Jorn also bought the house next door, which was close to his own.
Jorn worked the first year at the reputable ceramics workshop Mazotti. The company was led by the colorful Tullio Mazotti, who in the late 1920s and 30s had been associated with the movement "the other futurism". Mazotti had also met Picasso in Villauris in 1947 and 1948, and seen his pottery.
Jorn's collaboration with Mazotti was short-lived, it ended already in the autumn of 1955 due to disagreements about Mazotti's artistic line. Instead, Jorn moved to another workshop in Albissola, known as the Manifattura di Bianco.
Here he worked until Giovanni Poggi opened his own workshop "Ceramiche San Giorgio" in the spring of 1958.
By the time of his death, Jorn had bequeathed his house to the municipality of Albissola Marina. However, with a clause that his friend Umberto and his wife Teresa could stay in the house for the rest of their lives. They had lived with Jorn and his family all these years, and looked after the house when the restless artist traveled the world or worked in Paris. Only after their deaths in 1998 and 1999, respectively, could the municipality start creating the museum that Jorn had wanted.
Casa Museo Villa Jorn opens to the public after a major restoration in 2014.
The connection between Albissola Marina and Silkeborg is diverse, and there is both a popular and a political commitment to maintaining and developing the connection between the two municipalities.
Most recently, this has been expressed by a generous gift from Giovanni Poggi to Silkeborg. The gift consisted of four very impressive ceramic works by various artists, which are now hung in the foyer of Jysk Musikteater.
Poggi and Jorn worked closely together while they were both alive. And it was, for example, in Poggi's workshop "San Giorgio" that Asger Jorn received help to produce the large ceramic relief that hangs at Aarhus State High School.
In "San Giorgio", many artists have since worked on creating dishes and other ceramics. The dishes in the cafe exhibition are examples of the collaboration between craftsmen and artists that Jorn in his time helped to start - and which today lives on in the best possible way with new artists.