May 13 – June 29, 2023
World-renowned Finnish ceramic artist Erna Aaltonen (born 1951) presents a set of fourteen unreleased Spheres specially created for this third solo show at the Galerie de l’Ancienne Poste. After exploring sculptural or structured forms such as her Monoliths, the artist returns to her first spherical and ovoidal pieces, the famous Spheres so very emblematic of her art. These new works fit within an aesthetic continuity dear to the artist, who thus continues her favourite designs all the while introducing subtle changes that will delight her worldwide collectors.
Erna Aaltonen shapes her Spheres by overlapping wide strips of grogged stoneware clay. The hand-built ceramics are never perfectly regular – the artist actually likes to say that “the life of a work of art springs from the flaws that animate it”. The Spheres are all provided with a tiny, narrow opening that evokes a vessel’s neck or the cut stem of an imaginary plant. Erna Aaltonen striates and scratches the entire surface of the pieces with a notched metal saw that creates slight hollows and reliefs, generating an irregular texture that is often rough and sometimes soft to the touch. Clearly-traced vertical lines converge toward the top of some pieces, giving them a more graphic style and a vertical surge. Lastly, multiples layers of oxides and engobes fully cover the Spheres. The overall rendering is not uniform, but shaded with gradated areas that give the pieces a living and changing aspect, the ribbed texture effects uplifting a refined colour palette of natural tones of grey, beige, yellow, brown ochre, plum, light or dark blue… Neither oversaturated nor too cold, the colours appear soft, hazy and as though weathered with time.
Balanced and elegant, these new works exude peacefulness and serenity, as with all the artist’s previous Spheres. “The shape and structure of the surface, the colour and the glaze must make up a homogenous, harmonious whole. My one and only objective is for the object to be beautiful”, underlines Erna Aaltonen with significance.
The works of Erna Aaltonen are featured in numerous public and private collections in Europe, the United States, China, Japan and Korea. The artist received Finland’s Grand Prix for Design in 2014 and the gold medal from Faenza’s International Museum of Ceramics in Italy in 2015.
Galerie de l’Ancienne Poste
Place de l’Hôtel de Ville
- Two Spheres, 2023: Alessia, h33cm Ø19cm & Mirabella, h26cm Ø20cm, photo Johnny Korkman
- Donnae, h65cm Ø54cm & Doris 22cm Ø18cm
- Noemi, 2023, h38 cm Ø29cm
- Serena, h21cm Ø25cm & h37cm Ø34cm. Photo Johnny Korkman.
- Alessia, h33cm Ø19cm, Rose 22Ø19cm & Aurora h32 Ø32cm. Photo Johnny Korkman
- Survivor, 2023, h 46cm Ø48cm. Photo Johnny Korkman
- Three Spheres, 2023: Serena, h21cm Ø25cm, Selma, h28cm Ø30cm & Rosa, h22cm Ø19cm. Photo Johnny Korkman
- Pietra, 2023 h50cm Ø41 cm.
- Innocence, 2022, h59 cm Ø30 cm.