Swiss ceramicist, Kaufmann creates sculptures that are borne out of his fascination with the raw material, the process of making and the relationship between material and space. He views the goal of his work as being the experiment that occurs during all processes involved, including firing and post-firing interventions. The unexpected events that can happen in the kiln results in what he deems a gift, offered by the material, beyond the will. He writes
To question the gestures, the tools, the processes, the materials, generates an apparently multifaceted work. How to avoid losing itself?
It is a question of managing, to trust the interior unit of its being, to leave the open door to the doubts and enthusiasms, like a direct demonstration of our forces and major needs, beyond the current conscience or of the comprehension which one can have.
Kaufmann was born in Casablanca in 1954, and has lived in the area surrounding Geneva since the age of nine. Following his studies in ceramics at the School of Decorative Arts in Geneva under the tutelage of Philippe Lambercy, Aline Favre and Florent Zeller, he ran two ceramic workshops from 1978-84.
In 1988, he set up his own studio in Frangy, a commune in France near Geneva, and in 1994 he began a twenty-year teaching career in ceramics at the School of Applied Arts in Vevey, working as chair of the department until his recent retirement.
Kaufmann has been president of the International Academy of Ceramics (AIC) since 2012. Recognised for his accomplishments in contemporary ceramics and ceramic architecture, he has received over a dozen awards and his work is represented by many international public collections.