Aleksandar Vac: Terra Sigillata

Gara Perun Gallery
Jun 7, 2018 8:07AM

With this post we are beginning the new series of articles about the techniques the artist we represent are using. Today we are talking about an ancient technique called Terra Sigillata that has very much inspired and influenced our artist Aleksandar Vac.

Aleksandar Vac has found through ceramics as material, various possibilities, from design and creating usable objects to objects of fine art. For him ceramics is something that fulfils him and enables him to express himself in different ways. At the beginning of his studies at Faculty for Applied Arts in Belgrade he has discovered numerous techniques he can use with ceramics. This was when he discovered his signature technique – Terra Sigillata.

Aleksandar felt attracted to this technique as it corresponds to his sensibility.  The term terra sigillata, which means ‘sealed earth’, comes from the name of a type of luxury Roman pottery with glossy surface slips, produced around the first century AD. This pottery was decorated with impressed or stamped decoration, which is what the word ‘sigillata’ refers to. The main centers of production were in Italy, Gallus, Germania. However, local manufactured existed in Spain, Africa and Pannonia-  located over the territory of the present-day western Hungary, eastern Austria, northern Croatia, north-western Serbia, northern Slovenia, western Slovakia and northern Bosnia and Herzegovina. Aleksandar Vac comes from the town of Sremska Mitrovica, which was known as the Roman town Sirmium, where the remains of this pottery are located.

As already mentioned, pottery created using technique Terra Sigillata was very expensive. This is due to long and demanding process of creation, which implies mechanical polishing of the surface by hand, until the artist can get completely clean organic form, and the earth tones of objects that come as a result. After the 5th century and after introducing the wood as production material, Terra Sigillata was forgotten. It was rediscovered during the 2nd World War by German scientist.  

Gara Perun Gallery