Aneta Regel: Memory Landscape is on view at Sarah Myerscough Gallery, London
April 28 – June 10, 2023
It is with great pleasure that Sarah Myerscough Gallery introduces the first solo UK exhibition of acclaimed experimental ceramicist Aneta Regel. Memory Landscape will be the inaugural show at our new gallery space in Mayfair.
Aneta Regel’s abstract ceramic sculptures express themes of memory and the passage of time, displacement, nostalgia for a family home and her childhood landscapes populated by the creatures of Polish folklore. Her totemic objects are crafted from multiple layers of stoneware, porcelain and foraged volcanic rock inclusions. They are repeatedly dried and re-fired, telling a story of constant metamorphosis, of conflict and change, pushing the materials to their limits in the kiln, testing their malleability and density, strengths and weaknesses.
The artist’s work is fundamentally informed by her personal story; she is part of the last generation who can vividly remember the post-communist era in Poland and its dramatic end. That time of transition and contrast has greatly influenced her life and work since. This connection to landscape and place can be read in her work, as she harnesses the visual power and textures of the natural world; the rhythms and energies in mountains, trees and riverbeds, and, deeper still, the powerful underground transmutations of the earth.
“The human body and objects found in nature simultaneously fascinate me. My work carries anthropomorphic references as well as having an autobiographical narrative. Childhood memories of home and the surrounding landscape are evoked in the creation of ‘sceneries’, positioning pieces in groups, reimagining ideas from local legends arising from glacial rocks left behind in unexpected locations. These ‘landscapes’ are a displacement of a ‘dream world’ to a constructed one.” Aneta Regel, extract from the Memory Landscape exhbition essay by Tanya Harrod
Regel’s recent sculptures do memory-work with living trees and inert rock. Glaciers had once peopled her Pomeranian forests, melting at the end of the Ice Age to leave a moraine of pebbles, stones and boulders. Their presence in the woods of Northern Poland gave rise to folkloric tales and legends. A rock out of place, dropped by a glacier, is known poetically by geologists as an erratic. In Regel’s hands the word expands its meaning. Erratic rock inclusions that push outwards in the firing process have long been part of her work. Now, borne up by thoughts of childhood, Regel has created forests of work, tree-like trunks and bundled branches that look damaged and yet lively. That they carry stone insertions seems in this context more highly charged. We all have been struck by the inclusion of rocks in the roots of fallen trees, revealed to us like a secret, suggesting a closeness between two worlds, mineral and vegetal.
Regel’s latest tree forms are among some of her largest works to date. They bring together arboreal memories, landscapes of stone and tree. But they also reinvent themselves as images of lost souls clinging together, limbs intertwined. Some emerge as Regel’s uniquely strange creatures – identifiable because they are poised on tip-toe, clay and rock anthropomorphised, advancing towards us. Their animation recalls the marble quarrymen of Tuscany who, interviewed by the oral historian Giovanni Contini in the 1970s, explained that everything in nature has a soul, that marble was alive, and could feel pain.
Aneta Regel is a graduate of the Royal College of Art, UK. Her work is held in international public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, The Westerwald Museum, Germany; Handelsbankens Konstförening, Sweden; and the Carnegie Museum of Art, USA. She has shown at the Tate Modern, Feb Laznia Center of Contemporary Arts in Poland, and the Saatchi Gallery. The artist was shortlisted for the Loewe Craft Prize in 2018 and has received several notable awards, including the Crafts Council Development Award and the Excellence Award at the World Ceramics Biennale in Icheon, Korea, 2019. She is a member of the Royal British Society of Sculptors.
Sarah Myerscough Gallery represents highly-skilled international artist-designer-makers, whose practices are grounded in craft-making traditions but defined by contemporary innovation and invention. Through diverse making processes, they collectively embrace the complex intersections between history and future; hand and technology; form and function. By curating a specialist programme of exhibitions, the gallery aims to support this movement within the arts, which advocates the importance of retaining elements of the past, to mould a vision of the future.
Sarah Myerscough Gallery
34 North Row
London W1k 6DH
Photos 1-6 by James Harris. Courtesy of Sarah Myerscough Gallery and the artist.
Photos 7-18 by Sylvain Deleu. Courtesy of Sarah Myerscough Gallery and the artist.
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