« Neró Vázo A » (Greek for «water vase» and namesake of «black vase» in Italian) is a piece composed of two elements : a 32 x 52 x 42 cm water acrylic vessel immersed in water which contains the main piece : a vase in morta.
This piece of work is the first in the « Neró Vázo » series for which Studio NOCC has developed their concept of Utopian Archaeology. Bringing these two seemingly conflicting terms together made it possible to open a new and precise field of exploration. Archaeology is a science rooted in both the reality of the past and the present while Utopia is a way to imagine a fictional past.
Morta is a partially petrified wood taking dark-brown to black shades over time. It’s a type of wood that comes from trees that were immersed in swamp mud for thousands of years.
By analyzing the organic specificity of the morta under the conceptual prism of Utopian archaeology,
the NOCC studio has designed a unique piece : le Neró Vázo A. With this project, Studio NOCC
transform the Morta into a living fossil that is connected back to the time where it simply existed as wood.
So far this wood has always been worked on and used like most woods: in its dry form to ensure its stability. Studio NOCC had a different approach. Knowing that Morta has been immersed for more than 8000 years before reaching us, drying it by changing its environment would mean stopping its age-old journey and “traumatizing” the structure and material. The piece of bogwood was prvided by Christophe Daubignard of the Bois Antique company who came up with a unique process of extraction, conservation and transport in order to leave the features of the morta untouched. Just like an ancient wreck that could not be brought to the surface without rotting, this wood was used in its primary state: waterlogged, spongy and most importantly without interrupting its passage through time.
From a formal point of view, even though surface and matter effects seem plausible given that they were created using similar tools than those used in the Neolithic era and that the shape is inspired by man-made containers of the time, Juan Pablo Naranjo and Jean-Christophe Orthlieb have taken a few liberties from the original manufacturing methods in order to make a connection between past and present. Contemporary version of a Neolithic amphora, The three handles were used to hang the amphora. The ornaments were made using a gouge, a primitive wood-carving tool which was already in use thousands of years ago. Such a fine and precise drawing could only be achieved through a deep understanding of the wood as well as the technique used to carve water-soaked matters. The ornaments added on the amphoraare directly inspired by the Neolithic era canons repetitions of geometric patterns on the upper part of the vase. Commonly painted in the Neolithic era, these patterns acquired volume on the surface of the vase through carving technics.
Dimensions without stand : 42cm x 32cm x 52cm (w x d x h)
Dimensions with stand : 42cm x 32cm x 161cm (w x d x h)
Materials : Morta, water and acrylic