Organic forms, artisanal patterns and archaic symbols typify the latest ceramic art creations of four international designers, whose works are currently on display at the Amsterdam based Mia Karlova Galerie. The ‘Common Language’ exhibit, scheduled to stay on display until 4 June 2022, brings together creatives who work with the same material to express their ideas, thoughts and observations. Featuring the works of designers such as Jan Ernst, Voznicki, Françoise Jeffrey and Virginie Pernot, who hail from South Africa, Ukraine, The Netherlands and France respectively, the gallery space appears like an excavated and reclaimed space dotted with spiritually relevant ancient objects. Put together in an attempt to expose both the visible and invisible parts of life, the curves, nooks and crannies of these pieces evoke the veiled nostalgia for natural settings.
Jan Ernst, who hails from South Africa and is formally trained as an architect, reiterates his admiration for natural landscapes in his latest ‘Flux’ collection. Just like his Seapod Vessels, these lamps and mirrors that comprise his latest collection are inspired by the natural world, especially the features that characterise his home city, Cape Town. Ernst, as an artist and designer, chooses different elements from nature as an inspiration for each of his collections. For ‘Flux’, he takes cues from the copepods and their transient nature. “These water creatures are best observed under the microscope and go through radical metamorphoses during their life cycles. I want my collection’s organic shapes to inspire its viewer to reflect on personal transformation, shifting ways of thinking and the need to adapt during uncertain times. Flux is uncomfortable. Flux is peculiar. Flux is constant. Here, I wanted to explore the two dimensional quality of microscopic imagery through sculptural interpretation,” explains Ernst.
Comprising mirrors and sculptural lights, ‘Flux’, through its biomimetic form, evokes an aura similar to the one brought forth by copepods. While the table lamps are structured to generate interesting shadows around it, the mirror elicits introspection in the viewer by mimicking the reflective quality of water.
Ukrainian artists Andriy and Olesya Voznicki, graduates from the Lviv National Academy of Arts, who, in the wake of the recent Russo-Ukrainian war, were forced to abandon their homes and relocate to Amsterdam, channelled their desire for deep connections with the natural world in a sculptural creation that combines wood, clay and coal. The designer duo share, “When we arrived in Amsterdam, we visited a salvage market and found a myriad of old materials that formed the basis of our new pieces. There’s something truly magical about transforming elements that were once utilitarian into unexpected, tactile objects.”
The Modder sculptures by Dutch designer Françoise Jeffrey are experimentations in clay art that traverse the descriptions of shape and form associated with the material. The artist, who began her experimentations with clay as a way to cope with grief after the passing of her mother, attempts to provoke conversations through her pieces. Structured to appear like a twining coil, the sculpture art pieces are a representation of the resilience that her mother displayed during her final days. “My ultimate dream is for my ceramics to touch people’s souls after seeing my work and hearing my mother's story. I see my pieces as loving reminders for people to take good care of themselves. I want my work to allow people to take away a small fragment of my mother’s courage, to not only feel inspired, but also feel encouraged to talk about things that matter because every courageous decision is preceded by a difficult conversation,” explains Jeffrey.
The fourth and final exhibitor at the art gallery, Virginie Pernot, a recent graduate from the Vallauris Ceramic Art School, is a French ceramist who describes herself as a “craft-ist”. Her proximity to Vallauris, a city known for its ceramic makers and the much celebrated Madoura studio, shaped her creative practice and prompted her to create functional pieces of sculptures, so as to suffuse everyday objects with beauty. “I like my pieces to be expressive and playful if possible. Zoomorphic silhouettes appear incidentally, or not. They can get stacked on each other vertically, or simply aligned like family members on a photograph,” says Pernot. Made out of stoneware, her creations are either white or red, in matte finish.
Together, the works of the four ceramic artists come together as a celebration of nature and the thoughts, ideas and emotions that natural spaces elicit.
The ‘Common Language’ exhibition is on display from 21 April to 4 June 2022 at the Mia Karlova Galerie in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
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