Klara Kristalova: Underworld / Galerie Perrotin, New York

Klara Kristalova Underworld exhibition at Galerie Perrotin New York

Klara Kristalova: Underworld / Galerie Perrotin, New York
February 27 - April 12, 2014

Opening reception: Thursday, February 27, 6-8 pm.

There is something fascinating about circuses, not the big productions kind, but the small family type that travel around the countryside. They aren’t perfect but you get a sense that they really try; the kind of atmosphere were strange things can happen but we are still close to ordinary life. – Klara Kristalova

Galerie Perrotin, New York is pleased to present “UNDERWORLD”, its first solo exhibition by Klara Kristalova in New York and the artist’s fourth solo show with Galerie Perrotin.

Klara Kristalova constructs a dark, odd, and yet familiar world. The characters that inhabit her universe are peculiar, alone, quiet, perhaps lost, as if they have just escaped from a cruel tale, waiting for a passer-by to stop and indicate the way. Made from glazed ceramics, Kristalova ‘s figures carry a raw, vulnerable, human feel to them. Drawing from Nordic storytelling and traditional myths, Kristalova manages to convey basic human emotions such as fear, love, sadness and guilt, which emerge from her work like memories from our own childhood.

For her first exhibition at Galerie Perrotin, New York, Kristalova presents a series of new characters who form an ambiguous circus cast: performing acrobats, a bird with a girl’s face, a boy with mosquito wings, a magician’s daughter. How they ended up together is for us to guess though don’t be fooled by their seemingly innocent look. As with “Double Face”, they all carry their own enigma of good and evil. Perhaps they deserve their fate; perhaps they are unaware of their own condition. Kristalova crafts their portraits at a specific moment of their mysterious lives, providing us with a few elements before the curtain drops and the show begins, leaving us to write the rest of our their narrative.

Kristalova was born in former Czechoslovakia in 1967 and moved to Sweden with her parents when she was only a year old. She studied at the Royal University College of Fine Art in Stockholm and lives in Norrtälje, Sweden. Recent exhibitions include the Göteborgs Konstmuseum, Sweden (2012), Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm (2012), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2011) and SITE Santa Fe, New Mexico (2009), among many others.

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Interview with Els Wenselaers, Belgian ceramic artist

Interview with Els Wenselaers / Spotlight
By Ileana Surducan
Published in Ceramics Now Magazine Issue 2

What made you choose ceramics as a way of expressing yourself?

Clay is as good as any other medium, it is a material with lots of possibilities but it doesn’t influence my personal perception of art. Sometimes because of its limitations in format, in height, due to the measures of my kiln I have to find other solutions than I used before, but that are technical issues. I have also used other materials like papier maché before but the outcome of my figurines would be the same.

What is for you the importance of figurative representation?

It’s the essence of my work. It wouldn’t be possible for me to make work if my thoughts and feelings are not involved. All of them have a meaning and reflect my personal view on society. It’s not necessary for the public to understand it, you can enjoy them without knowing the background, but I need to be able to make them. Some of my works have a spiritual dimension. Love, understanding and insight, the meaning of existence - of evil, the happiness of life and the tragedy of death affect us, but are by themselves invisible. You can see it as a spiritual quest in which I will not flee, but indeed want to decompose and play with. The human figure in this case is the most suitable.

Els Wenselaers Contemporary Belgian Ceramics - The brain controller

Els Wenselaers: The Brain Controller, 2009, Ceramics, used materials, 25 x 29 x 16 cm.
> View more works by Els Wenselaers


Art no longer has to be “beautiful”, since the beauty of an object is derived not only from its appearance, but also from it’s concept and use. Tell us more about the aesthetic categories embodied by your work, and your motivation in choosing them.

The followers of modernism only repeat a trick, a cheap shock effect - desecrating the beauty. It has been repeated so many times and now it belongs to the popular circuit. An authentic artist is always looking for new styles, new forms to express himself and will not be guided by expectations. The emptiness of existence can contrast strongly with its beauty and vice versa. Beauty, ugliness, two sides of the same coin. It’s the perception of it that counts; something very beautiful can be experienced as ugly when you discover the essence, the inner side of it. Art exists in many layers, for those who want to see it. My work can be considered as superficially aesthetic, but the deeper meaning is of a different order. There isn’t much beauty in the emptiness of an existence as in the Sisyphus series. “L’existence précède l’essence”. Existence precedes essence. (Jean Paul Sartre)


The Human Hybrids series emphasizes a new twist of an old idea. Humans with animal characteristics have been a constant presence in many cultures since thousands of years ago. Compared to their traditional representation, what do you want to express with your works?

Indeed, one of the oldest known is an ivory sculpture, the Lion man of the Hohlenstein Stadel, Germany, a human-shaped figurine with a lion’s head, determined to be about 32,000 years old. Anthropomorphism is assigning human (behavioral) characteristics to animals. After reading an article about genetic engineering, I started on human hybrids. You can make goats, produce cobwebs or grow a human ear on the back of a mouse, etc. These techniques don’t stay within the walls of a laboratory. Since a number of years, you can find genetically manipulated fish in the aquarium trade. A familiar example is the glowfish: a gene of coral polyps was implanted in a zebrafish so that the fish has become luminous. Wherein ancient civilizations, men thought that they could get the spirit of the animal at their sides in the hunt by performing rituals, men now literally attempt to change certain qualities or appearances of people through genetic modification. Currently one is allowed to blend DNA of humans and animals and keep this hybrid alive up to 14 days, and this with the purpose to investigate the study of human bred organs for organ transplantation. There are both positive and negative elements to this evolution, but you can wonder who will eventually be the freak in the future: modified or unmodified humans. I want to start a dialogue about it with the Human Hybrids.

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Cynthia Lahti exhibition / Zentrum für Keramik, Berlin

Cynthia Lahti exhibition Zentrum für Keramik Residency for Ceramics Berlin

Cynthia Lahti exhibition / Zentrum für Keramik, Berlin
November 4-11, 2012

Opening reception: November 4th, 2-5 PM.

We are very happy to announce the upcoming exhibition of artworks created Cynthia Lahti during her residency at the Zentrum für Keramik - Berlin. Cynthia is from Portland, Oregon, where she has been working as an artist for over 24 years. She is a mixed media artist whose work explores human emotions through the evocative power of the figure. 

"My goal is to create works of art that resonate with honesty and reflect the beauty and chaos of the world. My art is influenced by human artifacts from ancient times to the present, as well as by my personal experiences and emotions. Like the varied objects I draw on for inspiration - from 1940s knitting catalogs and outsider art, to Native American cedar carvings and Degas’ sculptures of dancers - my artworks force an explanation of reality and compel viewers to connect to a larger human experience. I work in various media, including drawing, collage, and sculpture." Cynthia Lahti

The Residency for Ceramics-Berlin is located in the neighborhood of Pankow, 3 miles north of Mitte, the center of East Berlin on a spacious lot surrounded by a beautiful old garden.

The residency is designed for artists working in clay or artists with a background in ceramics who wish to undertake a clay project and it provides an opportunity for them to work in a new context, to experiment and develop new approaches and to explore another culture. The location provides a fantastic opportunity to explore a fascinating city with a thriving local art scene.

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Figure/Figurine / The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, USA

Figure/Figurine Exhibition at the The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, USA

Figure/Figurine / The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, USA
April 6 – April 29, 2012

The Clay Studio - Philadelphia’s premier non-profit ceramic arts organization is pleased to present Figure/Figurine. The exhibition, taking place in the Harrison Gallery of The Clay Studio’s Old City home at 137-139 N. Second Street, runs from April 6 – April 29, 2012. The public is cordially invited to attend.

For many contemporary artists working in clay sculpting representations of the human figure, associations with and references to the figurine are natural. Figurines, diminutive tabletop sculptures, representing man and or beast have lived in almost every home globally, regardless of place, culture or time. Early clay examples date back some 30000 years. Throughout time these figures have represented many things. From fertility icons to religious symbols, common man to Kings, from singular figures to ornate and complex compositions, these intimate sculptures commemorate(d) everyday and heroic acts, modern day folk and pop cultural figures, and historically significant events.

Artists participating in Figure/Figurine include Christyl Boger, Ann Agee, Jeremy Brooks, Carole Epp, Anna Noel, and Debbie Kupinsky. Each of these makers uses the history of the figurine to create works that live comfortably in our contemporary world.

The Clay Studio
Founded in 1974, The Clay Studio is a non-profit educational art organization dedicated to the promotion and development of the ceramic arts and the work of new clay artists. The Clay Studio supports the ceramic arts through its artist residencies, gallery, studio space, school, and outreach programs. The Clay Studio believes in promoting broad access to the ceramic arts and gears its programs to all levels of interest and proficiency.

Gallery hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 11 am - 7 pm, and Sunday, 12 - 6 pm.

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Cindy Billingsley: Chamber Nautlius, 2005, 15” x 18” x 9”, raku clay, hand built solid, hollowed for firing, low fired, cold finish acrylic and wax

Cindy Billingsley: Chamber Nautlius, 2005, 15” x 18” x 9”, raku clay, hand built solid, hollowed for firing, low fired, cold finish acrylic and wax

Cindy Billingsley: Giraffes - Out of the ordinary, 2008, 25” x 28” x 22”, raku clay, hand built solid, hollowed for firing, low fired, cold finish acrylic and wax

Cindy Billingsley: Giraffes - Out of the ordinary, 2008, 25” x 28” x 22”, raku clay, hand built solid, hollowed for firing, low fired, cold finish acrylic and wax

Susan Meyer: Together, 2008, Laser cut acrylic, H-O scale figures, wood, video and sound, dimensions variable

Susan Meyer: Together, 2008, Laser cut acrylic, H-O scale figures, wood, video and sound, dimensions variable

Susan Meyer: Vinyl (detail), 2011, Laser cut acrylic, H-O scale figures, aluminum, 35” x 10” x 10”

Susan Meyer: Vinyl (detail), 2011, Laser cut acrylic, H-O scale figures, aluminum, 35” x 10” x 10”