Suvikunta Ceramic & Glass Barn
A wide variety of sculptures, objects and vessels come together in a playful matrix of formal, conceptual and material concerns. The building, a recently renovated 19th-century granite-and-wood grain store in Suvikunta, the main estate on Sarvisalo, contains items made by makers from Loviisa to London, Korea to the United States. There are several themes and approaches that merge between and through the items on display in this studio context: the psychological charge of the materials, references to mythology, the body as a vessel, and forms in nature are all created by the artists on display.
Two strands of the design collection dominate: they are visionary female ceramicists from the 1930s to the 1960s, working out of the Arabia factory, and 1950s and 1960s glass work by Tapio Wirkkala and Kaj Franck. Lakes (2018), a sculpture by Nicolas Deshayes, was made using slipcasting, a technique associated with the mass production of ceramics. He emphasises the hygiene-friendly superficiality of the material, referring to our contemporary obsession with cleanliness and sterile, wipe-clean surfaces that contradict our innate organic, earthy and often dirty nature. Meanwhile, his bronze sculpture Crop (2020) was inspired by microscope imagery of shampoo advertising, botanical studies and technical drawings. The body of the sculpture was cast from a creased block of clay, alluding to the roughness of flesh or soil. Unsettling and alluring, the sculpture portrays a marriage between the colour of soil and skin and the mirror-polished gold.
Elizabeth Jaeger challenges the traditional way the female body is displayed in art, propping an unglazed sculpture of a hollow, open-sided female torso on a custom-built blackened steel stand. The headless torso is reduced to an object, an un-individuated body. This work is part of a group, in which each sculpture follows the same format: a skin-like sheet of clay with sculpted waist, belly button and breasts, hung over a thin metal stand.
Klara Kristalova’s sculptures steer clear of the more rhetorical aspects of art and instead call to mind old folk-tales, childhood fantasies, dreams and nightmares, inviting us into a unsettling fantasy world. Her ceramic sculpture Dissolving (2007) depicts a quiet, peculiar figure morphing into its natural elements.
Jung Min Park creates glazed ceramic sculptures, their surfaces covered in colourful, abstract drawings carved in the clay. Immediately noticeable is the slushing, watery sound that echoes from within, with a distinct rhythmical pulse to it. For Biological Rhythm and the smaller Lingering Rhythm (both 2018), Park collected the sounds of her own body – heartbeats, breathing, chewing – all sounds with their own cadences, which enhance the curves and patterns of her sculptures. Repetition is another theme in the artist’s practice. For her, it plays a significant role in the process of formation, hinting at the possibility of ongoing growth. This growth through repetition is how her sculptures take form: the artist repeatedly piles up the clay until it slowly collapses under its own weight. After letting these accidental forms harden, she repeats the process again and again. By reproducing the repetitive process of interaction between the body and the world, Park explores the everyday phenomena that individuals encounter with their bodies, ultimately seeking to represent the basic principles of life.