We recently hosted Italian sculptor Ivo Sassi for a week as he finished one of his monumental sculptures. He was in Shanghai to present his sculpture as a gift to the local Chinese government. In collaboration with Gao Yifeng, Sassi built a totem that was 4 meters high. His 50 years in clay have yielded a very direct and immediate approach to manipulating form and surface. He reminded me of an Italian Peter Volkous as he was attacking the clay with a fettling knife and runny slip.
Sassi spoke no English so we had lots of funny lost in translation moments. At one point a Chinese TV crew came to the studio. With the help of his son we explained that if he was going to be on TV he had to put his shirt back on. (He was a fan of working with just his shorts and apron.) It made for a good laugh between all the English speakers who were witnessing this request being translated from Chinese to English to Italian and back again.