A committed artist (1919–2006)

12 September 2013 - 20 October 2013


Organised with Elisabeth Lambercy and her family, this exhibition falls within the framework of the thirteenth Parcours Céramique Carougeois and presents a retrospective of the work of Philippe Lambercy, ranging from the 1950s to the 2000s. In the vanguard of research in Switzerland, Lambercy developed a precise approach to the craft of the ceramist. As head of the ceramics section of the École des Arts décoratifs in Geneva from 1952 to 1979, he devoted himself to revolutionising the conception and teaching of ceramics by freeing the resulting works from functional constraints. In 1957 he set up a studio in Confignon, close to Geneva, where he produced works on the wheel and researched high-temperature enamels until 1963. That same year, his execution of low-relief murals in enamelled stoneware for installation on public and private buildings led to his discovery of the flexibility of use of clay plaques. However, it was only gradually that he turned away from the creation of containers and practical objects. Between 1965 and 1970 Lambercy developed large containers assembled from plaques which he placed on a rectangular, square or elliptical base. From this moment on, his work focused on the communication between an object’s internal space and its environment. For Lambercy this meant abandoning the notion of a container and following the direction of what he termed “ceramic plastics”. As from 1990, he created compositions whose elements were placed freely in the space surrounding a perceived centre or following a trajectory. The 2000s brought a profound change of direction. Lambercy created empty but closed “coloured volumes” that he assembled in pairs, sometimes in trios, characterised by greatly varied and subtly coloured surfaces.

The exhibition, which will not be presented chronologically, will illustrate the extraordinary consistency of his œuvre – from his decorated clay works to his compositions in stoneware. Drawings, watercolours and a movie will invite visitors to discover the various stages in Philippe Lambercy’s artistic evolution.

In tribute to the research carried out into enamels by Daniel de Montmollin, Philippe Lambercy’s great friend, Jacques Kaufmann has created a ceramic installation that is exhibited on the first floor where the enamel of the “inhabited stones” has moulted for the “Year of the Snake”.

Exhibition curator: Monique Crick

Cahier du Contemporain written by Elisabeth Lambercy and Michèle Baeriswyl.

Scenography by Nicole Gérard