In parallel with her steady, ongoing work on the ceramic object, an important position in the artistic production of Eleni Vernadaki was occupied by ceramoplastic forms – works which go beyond the ceramic canon of the object/vessel in both a formal and functional sense, since they were not intended to serve specific practical needs.
In the case of Vernadaki, her work on autonomous artistic forms in clay was not a means of voiding ceramic processes. Using the same ceramic convention, she endeavoured to alter or even overturn, both literally and conceptually, that which we usually perceive as ceramic art. The distinction between ceramic objects and ceramoplastic forms therefore serves to organize a presentation of her work and is in no way intended to comprise any sort of value judgement on applied and “fine” arts. Her ceramic art, in any case, operates in and is produced in the fluid field between conventional classifications of the arts. Both the works which can be described as non-utilitarian and the ceramic objects which can serve utilitarian needs, are perceived by Vernadaki as forms. Their main unifying element is the exploration of the proposals which the ceramic artist can offer on the matter of shaping the ceramic form – proposals that reference matters of material and technique as much as any formal issues and their conceptual implications.
With her works from the series “Ten Forms”, a number of other forms which she exhibited in 1979 at the Facchetti Gallery in Paris, and the “Cloths”, “Lace” and “Burnt Trees” series, as well as her anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figures, Vernadaki masterfully extended the boundaries of ceramic art through distinctive figural and conceptual proposals.
Whether it regards ceramic objects or ceramoplastic forms, the sum of Eleni Vernadaki’s ceramic practice was articulated on the same framework: a deep knowledge of the limits defined by the raw material itself and its technical processing, but also an enduring endeavour to transcend these and the conscious view that both the object which operates on a utilitarian level and the non-utilitarian form equally comprise fields of formal enquiry – fields of artistic experimentation which should not submit to easy and familiar solutions.