As an ardent enthusiast of the lute, that impossible instrument, Peter Decleyn has had the privilege for several years now, almost every day, of spending some time between the sounds of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. A few months ago, by chance, an idea grew into a small project in his ceramics studio, which he conveniently called ‘testudo’: a number of free associations born of the lute, its shape and the often so mysterious titles of the repertoire.
Earth, tormented and baked, often combined with a number of collected pieces of wood and metal that were lying around in my studio and that continued to appeal to me by the traces of time they bear, into small sculptures, not devoid of some melancholy, in which also for luthomaniacs might be able to discover some aesthetic qualities, … and some austere poetry.
‘Testudo’, precisely the Latin name that had been given to a tortoise for a long time and that was therefore later assigned to the lute. There is apparently some similarity in form, but there is also said to be a common symbolism around domesticity and silence.
I don’t mind turtles at all. But when I read in Plutarch that Aphrodite, precisely because of those two celestial gifts, was so often depicted at that time… with light foot resting… on a tortoise…
A selection of these sculptures will be exhibited from September 15 to October 14, 2023 in the VALCKE ART GALLERY, Bernard Spaelaan 14 in 9000 GENT (double exhibition with Mieke EVERAET under the name “Sober Poetry” )