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SEKA (SEVERIN TUDJA) (1923 - 2007)

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Daughter of Dragutin Severin and Angela Tolg, Severin Tudja was a ceramist (Zagreb, Yugoslavia, 1923 – Caracas, Venezuela, 2007), from a young age she played with clay, modeled figurines and was determined about what she would study. During her youth, the term ceramics did not exist, and little did she know how her path would be traced in the years to come.

Seka studied sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb (1942-1945) with Frano Krsinic and Krsto Hegedusic. After being awarded a scholarship by the French government (1946-1948), she went to live in Paris where she studied sculpture and drawing at the Academia La Grande Chaumiére and graduated in, Art History and Archaeology at La Sorbonne (1948). During her time in Paris she made figures with the technique of lost wax for film animations.

In 1952 Seka moved to Caracas, where she began to research and experiment with ceramic techniques exploring the variations that occurred through alterations of technical canons, as well as continuing to test heat variations and firing times. Her work is defined by her rigorous research of shape, texture and color.

In 1962 she made pieces that were completely closed, in contrast to her other works determined by holes and which were partially open. After 1972 she decided to work on only closed forms, resembling lucid variations of the sphere and the oval. Seka used hand-modeled red or white clay - that often gave its pieces a particular cracking, - varying earths and oxides, and she applied the cover pigments using varying brushes and oils. These technical processes were applied methodically and with determination and are recorded in the titles of the pieces themselves, which were named by serial codes combining letters and numbers.

Seka was an active participant in the Official Hall, where she was awarded a prize in 1955, and also of the ceramic salons that were held in the Mendoza Hall. She participated in numerous collective exhibitions: "Contemporary Ceramics" (National Museum of Fine Arts, Buenos Aires, 1962), "Venezuelan Pottery" (Museum of Contemporary Crafts, New York, 1963), "9th Ceramic Art" (Smithsonian Institute, Washington, 1963), "Les émaux dans la cerámique actuelle" (Musée de l'Ariane, Geneva, Switzerland, 1965), "Internationale Kunsthandwerk" (Stuttgart, Germany, 1966), "Form und qualitt" (Munich, Germany, 1967), "International Exhibition of Ceramics" (Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1972), "In Praise of Hands" (WCC, Toronto, Canada, 1974), I Triennial Of Small Ceramics (Zagreb, 1984), "Sculptures du XXe si.cle. From Rodin to Tinguely" (Rath Museum, Geneva, Switzerland, 1984), "International Ceramics" (Museum of Fine Arts, Taipei, Taiwan, 1985), "Venezuelan Studio Ceramics" (British Crafts Center, London, 1985), "Meeting of Contemporary Ceramicists of Latin America" (1986-1988), "Barro de América" (MACC, 1992), AIC (Umeleckoprumyslové Muzeum, Prague, 1996), "Europe and Venezuela, Ceramic Link" (MACCSI and Museum of Art, Choir, 1996) and "The Energy of Mud" (Sidor Room, 1996), among others.

In 1972 she was appointed a member of the AIC and from 1979 she was an honorary member of the AVAF. Miguel Arroyo, talking of Seka’s work said "it is planned, configured and timeless - as in splendid sequential diagrams - the shocking process of seizures, eruptions, slips and fusions through which matter will have to pass - and pass - until it reaches its final stabilization. Therefore, when we look closely, we discover that the resonances they produce in our minds are not motivated by superficial associations, but by much deeper causes that have to do with the linkage between their materials and others that lived similar or identical process of conflagration and stabilization"

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