ANDRÉ BORDERIE (1923-1998)
Though he began his career as a civil servant, André Borderie took up painting in his early twenties at the urging of Paul Colin, the poster artist. After a chance encounter with artists Pierre and Vera Székely in post-war Vienna, he abandoned his bureaucratic post and settled with them in France two years later. For nearly a decade the three engaged in a collaborative enterprise in ceramics, often producing and signing pieces together. Borderie established a style using the simplest geometric forms: the triangle, the circle and the square, along with the purest colors; which he employed in small whimsical pieces such as ashtrays, boxes and table sculptures. Borderie carried these exercises in geometry into his large wall murals; balancing plane against plane and rectangle against square, in rhythms of quiet earth tones or highly saturated oranges and golds. His larger vessels assumed more primitive silhouettes. In his early work, images seemingly drawn from shamanist cultures were incised on crude vessels, sometimes shaped like small animals or magical beings. Along with this work, Borderie developed a style related to the ethnic pottery of the period which often involved surrealist abstractions. Simple bowls and wide, sensual jars are glazed in earth colors and embellished with a single band of color, an ovoid or a pear shape. A white spheroid lamp could be an alert eyeball perched on a pedestal and a jar is decorated with almondine shapes pierced with holes, vaguely suggesting eyes. In much of his work, the observed object seems to possess a power of its own. The eyeball lamp radiates light; the eye-covered jar seems to look back, its perforated surface allowing the interior to fill with light and energy; and an almondine tabletop seems to levitate like a dreamy eye. His zoomorphic vessels also seem to possess their own ancient magic. In the midst of the machine age, Borderie has wrought with clay and an almost animistic spirituality a small world alive with natural beauty and organic powers.