In gesprek met Cyril Vibert van Flip Flop Flap. Sinds kort mogen wij het werk opnemen in onze shop van de in Amsterdam gevestigde ceramist uit Frankrijk. Naast dat wij weg zijn van zijn unieke perfecte imperfecte werken, die naar zijn eigen zeggen; ‘werken zijn die zijn klunzigheid overleven’, waren wij helemaal benieuwd naar de leuke persoon erachter en daarom stelde wij hem enkele vragen.
‘but I see it now as a funny statement against the constant seriousness in the art field and ceramic world.’
How would you describe yourself
Hi there! I am Cyril the guy wearing all year round (or at least trying) flip-flops behind Flip Flop Flap. Originally from France, I lived for a while in New Zealand and Australia which is an amazing part of the world. I am now based in Amsterdam at the wonderful Studio Pansa where I also have the pleasure to teach twice a week.
Where does the name Flip Flap Flop comes from and how did you came up with the concept Flip Flop Flap
I have to confess there is no deep and meaningful meaning behind the name Flip Flop Flap. It all started as a silly name due to my questionable fashion choices but I see it now as a funny statement against the constant seriousness in the art field and ceramic world.
Tell us about your clumsiness and the survivors
In this context clumsiness relates more to a free and flexible approach to the pieces I create. I usually only have a rough idea when I start and let the piece evolve as it wants. This process can be seen as inefficient or clumsy because not all the pieces make the final cut. If a piece is not pleasing me it goes straight back to the recycle bucket to be used again. Clay is such a great material when it comes to recycling. A little water, a bit of drying and it is as good as new. This means all the pieces that I fire are the lucky survivors of this clumsy process.
You have studied building services and have worked as a sustainability engineer, do you see influences of this in your art work
You are right – working as a sustainability consultant for buildings, I am on a daily-basis trying to shift our building towards a more sustainable pathway (not that simple). At first working with ceramics was the perfect getaway from all the regulations and standards in this field. It is a freeing and thrilling feeling to be able to create whatever I was feeling like.
However the more I spend time ceramaking (#newword ?!) the more difficult it becomes to blindly ignore the apparent futility and waste created by my tall vases or funky teapots. Using this lateral experience I developed my interest for materials and their environmental impact. I therefore seek to produce only high-quality ceramic pieces embodying craftsmanship and individuality but also using as much as possible recycled materials. I found turning waste into a beautiful object extremely satisfying and I hope you will as well through my pieces.
How would you describe your work and where do you find your inspiration
The pieces that I create for Gewoon Kunst are kept as organic, playful and handmade as possible while still fulfilling the highest level of functionality. For example, the teapots and coffee carafes should pour like a dream and be as light at possible.
Another particularity is that all the pieces are unique and one-offs and even though some of them might be similar they are all being built individually based on various inspirations ranging from natural elements, feelings but also close family members or friends. This is also a choice going against modern mass production where uniqueness and individuality are rapidly disappearing.
Your from France and you have lived in Australia and New Zealand, now you are living and working in Amsterdam, what else is on your wishlist after this
It seems like it will be Europe for a while now. I appreciate cheese and wine to much to go too far from France.
Who is your favorite artist or book character at the moment and why
Being French I grew up with graphic novels and that might be why I am constantly drown back to them. One of my all-time favourite is certainly Daytripper by twins Gabriel Bá and Fabio Moon. Through the wonderful artwork, Fabio Moon crafts a world that is so alive, one that holds as much life as the characters that inhabit it. The degree of life invested in the characters is something special when we are only given ten short chapters to acquaint ourselves them and their world through which our protagonist explores his own life, purpose, and meaning. Without expanding too much on the storyline it is a haunting book about simple things in life and how we decide to live it.
What advice would you give buyers of your work
To use them! I believe the more you use them the more beautiful they become. Oh also don’t put them directly on the stove 😉
Would you like to add something more
Thanks again for the opportunity to work with you and I think Gewoon Kunst slow living approach is also much needed today.
Thank you Cyril, for your informative replies. It is great and fun to work with you too.