Patty Wouters: Selected works, 2015-2021
Cocoons, Vulnerable packages in transition to a new existence, 2015
These closed forms are thin and fragile and therefore imply vulnerability. The wrapped works resemble mummies or cocoons. The theme of containment is further investigated through the creation of assemblages of the elemental forms in a gauzy bag; the sacks are hung with the elements forcing themselves against the fabric skin, suggesting trying to escape.
Closed forms have always played an important role in my ceramic design. A closed form such as a box has an aura of something intriguing, something fascinating, something mysterious. Such a container can be a protection for a precious object or a wrapping for a valuable present.
Clay is in itself a symbol of transformation. Clay is the result of millions of years of rock erosion. Through the hands of an artist or a crafts person it is shaped into a new form. The fire converts it into a new substance: rock-hard ceramic. Therefore I deliberately chose to make these cocoons from paper porcelain to emphasize the concept of vulnerability and transformation.
Cocoons and mummies have a loaded symbolic and metaphysical meaning. According to Jung and his contemporary followers, all artistic creations contain forms and images which have symbolic meanings, which are archetypal, and in this way communicable to others. The mummy as well as the cocoon, symbolizes an intermediate stage: both are a metaphor for an emerging new life. Making cocoons in porcelain is a metaphor for a new practice.
These light pillars have a cracked and broken surface. The fractured skin can suggest wounds and suffering. The metallic structures are a support during the making but become very weak and brittle after the firing. The porcelain cylinders enter the kiln vertical and straight; during the high-temperature firing the clay melts – it warps and distorts, and also become translucent. Light emphasizes the frailness of the porcelain and of ourselves but also symbolizes the power of hope.
This ceramic work was rewarded in 2021 with the first price at the International Ceramic Competition “Premio di Arte Ceramica Frateli Melis, Bosa, Sardenia.
Vulnerability is a recurring theme in my work. I usually work with porcelain; the material itself radiates fragility through its essential qualities of whiteness, thinness and translucence.
This circle symbolizes the circle of life. The wafer-thin leaf in the opening is a metaphor for nature in general and how sensitive and vulnerable nature is. The impact of human intervention in nature is enormous and can be a threat if we do not consciously deal with it.
This porcelain work wants to ask the spectator’s attention and confront us with the vulnerability of our ecosystem.
The tragedy of forced migration, 2021
Today people are fleeing war, violence and poverty, they are looking for better living conditions. It is often an act of desperation. Someone doesn’t leave his or her native soil, family and friends if their home country is a good place to live.
The experiences of these migrants are often unimaginable. Refugees risk their life to get to a place where is hopefully better. Often it is a journey to life and death.
By A Silk Thread
Their lives hang by a thin wire. Staying in their native country is a daily confrontation with a possible death. During their journey to another country it is often also a “survival journey” that sometimes ends tragically, as we all know of the boat refugees in the Mediterranean Sea.
The experiences of refugees inspired me to create this installation. A coarse clay vessel holding delicate porcelain elements representing the precarious lives of those escaping.
“By a silk thread” is a work that employs the language of ceramics to illustrate the extreme difficulties of migrants fleeing conflict. The fragile porcelain objects symbolize vulnerability. They are captured by a carrier that hangs from a thin wire and seems to float aimlessly in space.
- Cocoons installation, 2015, Photographs, paper porcelain and organic materials, silk bags
Cocoons, 2015, Paper porcelain, 40 x 200 x 20 cm
Silk bags with cocoons, 2015, Paper porcelain and silk, each 80 x 40 x 40 cm
- Fractured, 2016, porcelain, metal, LED-light, 200 x 40 x 50 cm
- Vulnerability, 2018, paper porcelain and organic materials, 40 x 40 x 8 cm
- Floating, 2021, paper porcelain and organic material, stoneware clay, each 45 x 12 x 15 cm
By A Silk Thread, 2021, paper porcelain and organic material, stoneware clay, each 45 x 12 x 12 cm