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Fashioned from paper, Siba Sahabi's collection of vessels takes us to ancient Greece via the Middle East and Europe.

By Cassandra Pizzey /asdf 10-02-2011

Currently on show in two galleries at once - Galerie Ra in Amsterdam and Plaats Maken in Arnhem - Kerameikos by Siba Sahabi tells the story of ancient Greek tableware.

Known for her fascination with history and cultural melting pots, for this latest collection Sahabi travelled to Greece, the city of Kerameikos to be exact. "Being interested in the history of ceramics, I dedicated my new series to antique Greek ceramics, since this has had such a big influence on European tableware." Curious about the Athens craftsmen's source of inspiration, Sahabi learnt they were strongly influenced by the Middle East. "It's a great example of how one culture get influenced by another; this leads to renewal and cultural richness."

The vessels that comprise the series are based on ritual as well as every day items, such as food storage or water jugs. Each piece is meticulously crafted from paper without a preconceived design in mind. Sahabi: "I work much like a 3-D printer, building up the layers as I go along." Sketches of silhouettes and a basic shape are the starting point of every design, with the actual form resulting from the creative process. "It was a challenge to keep the basic form in mind while playing with the dynamics of creation." By slowly and rhythmically cutting, rolling and gluing, the flat paper is transformed into a three-dimensional object.
Although Sahabi's objects have a fragile, short-lived appearance, they refer to objects that have endured centuries. "My projects are anchored in the present but form a link with the past," says the designer.
A love for heroic sagas and legends is the drive behind Kerameikos. "For me, the story of an object is more important than its function." The paper vessels refer to the aesthetics of design as they do not function the way the viewer would think; they tell a story.

Kerameikos is currently on show at Galerie Ra in Amsterdam until 23 March and Plaats Maken in Arnhem until 13 March, 2011.

Click on the images to enlarge

Photography: Maayan Ben Gal

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