Roberto Paparcone

Between the rational and the irrational

Ceramics make him free and give meaning to his life. Roberto Paparcone (Nápoles, 1971) is not interested in the commercial route for his art, but rather in expressing memories and constantly telling stories.

Roberto Paparcone

“I would often stop in front of her workshop in Barcelona, and look through the window like children do. I never worked up the courage to go inside. Until one day my former partner gave me a one-month course with the Japanese ceramicist Misako Homma as a gift”. And that was how it all started. The love Roberto Paparcone felt for ceramics was instantaneous. A discipline that enabled him to enjoy what architecture – he is an architect by trade – does not afford him: working with his hands.

The child of a mathematician (his father) and a pianist (his mother), Roberto grew up between two opposite worlds: the rational, conservative one embodied by his father, and the irrational, progressive one represented by his mother, the person who has always driven him and helped him in every way she could. “My mother is my role model, she has always broken with established tradition, and she inculcated the idea of freedom in me”, he affirms.

To work with ceramics, you need discipline, style and technique. Before, as a designer, Roberto always depended on others to complete the work he began. But now he is independent, and he completes the entire process of the ceramic piece: the idea, the design, the firing, the colours. In spite of this, he still doesn’t consider himself an expert. “I have worked with ceramics for years, but I am not a ceramicist. Defining myself as one is daunting to me. For me, a ceramicist is Joan Pere Català Roig, who has a kiln on his finca and feeds logs into it to control the temperature and achieve the desired result. There aren’t many like him. I think of myself as just a designer-ceramicist, that’s all”, he says.

His childhood summers in Amalfi, a village on the coast of Naples, Italy, compounded a fair amount of what Roberto is today. His Amalfi collection evokes the aroma of the sea, on those days when he would get up before dawn to go fishing, with all the enthusiasm of a little boy. This is the most special of his series. “All of the work is manual, and all of the dishes are different. I decorate as well, but not with a brush, with a silicone pear. I draw on the dish and because it is made of clay, no two are alike”.

Khaos is his most personal collection, created after the end of an intense love affair. “I let out everything I had inside, channelling it through the creative process”, he confesses.

Roberto has always been excited about the phase prior to the project. That unexpected moment when the idea emerges, anywhere, anytime. Which is why he always carries a notebook with him. “If I went to a desert island and could only take one object with me, I would choose my grandmother’s notebook. It goes wherever I go. It is where she jotted down her recipes, and for me it represents tradition, the memories of childhood. It also symbolises the matriarchy, the act of deciding what is done, what changes, what is maintained. Each of these notebooks is a memento. If I lose one, it’s as though I lose a part of myself”.

But Roberto doesn’t only make notes in the notebooks: for him the wall of his workshop is also fundamental; on it he hangs pieces of paper and objects, and he makes annotations. “When I sit down here with a tea or a coffee, I observe a projection of myself, a guide to what I am going to do”.

As well as creating unique pieces, Roberto is passionate about [...]


Read this article in full in IN PALMA 64. And if you like, subscribe to IN PALMA for 1 year and get the next 4 issues of the magazine delivered to your home.

Roberto Paparcone
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