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V1 Gallery presents

A solo exhibition by Klara Lilja

V1 Gallery is pleased to present Parangkera, our third solo exhibition by Klara Lilja, already a modern pioneer of clay. Boasting some seventy ceramic sculptures, the exhibition proposes a review of her inner gardens, and proves her as an expertly worldbuilder. This exhibition coincides with her official representation by V1 Gallery.

Klara Lilja is one way to be a woman and an artist, and it seems essential to see her life as the mould or pattern which creates the form and engenders the structures of life. Events in her life are not the example, but the abstraction – as with her behelits, starsuns, flowers, bodiless limbs- and bones – the constant array of unseen patterns. What first seems like abstract biomorphic forms reveals, when more carefully examined, an organic genesis of imaginative beings, flora, and fauna.

From the deliberately fluid and open layout of the exhibition, installed in clusters on refurbished vintage chests and vitrines, Klara Lilja's planet Parangkera begins to take shape. Carnivorous rafflesia flowers, broken branches, crust and crackled starsuns, vivid pink ripe peapods split open, clusters of otherworldly fruits are rendered in mesmerizing glazes, developed by the artist as alchemist in her studio. The colors on the sculptures seem to blossom; from the glaze, or are they radiating from inside of them? That remains open. “The events that left their mark on me happened in days gone by, in my head”, Klara Lilja quotes one of her Symbolist heroes, the French painter Odilon Redon (1840-1916). Klara Lilja bestows her figures with an aura, and refers to the concealed innerworld of the viewer. To bring out the magic in them, Klara Lilja gives each of her new-found species a proper name. As the title of the exhibition suggests, a portmanteau of Pangea, referring to the supercontinent that once incorporated (almost) all of Earth's landmasses in early geological epoch and kera more obviously from ceramic, Parangkera exists somewhere in the interstice between the astral and the physical world. One can’t help but think of other gardens of earthly delights: The buoyant joyfulness in Nikki de Saint Phalle’s fourteen-acre Tarot Garden in Tuscany is contrasted with a fascination for the grotesque found in Alien-creator HR Giger’s overgrown house sprawling outside Zurich. Inspired by these early "cosmic" fevers and their immensity, Parangkera proves original.

When she began the process of Parangkera, Klara Lilja realized that it was already there; the process gleaned from a vision, perhaps also a need, physical as well as conceptual, to connect- and contextualize all her ceramic creations, including some of those born out of her previous worlds, Cosmogony and Philosopher’s Mountain, to give them a planet where she could freely and authentically let them live. As Saint-Exupéry’s Little Prince, Klara Lilja is a tireless and loyal caretaker. Her planet draws not only from autobiographical subjects; the first sculpture for Parangkera was created during her pregnancy in 2019, it is also a question of discipline. “It is very tedious work,” The Little Prince echoes, “but also very easy.” Easy for Klara Lilja, who cares intensely about what she does every moment and, most important, allows that caring to show.

Klara Lilja (b. 1989) lives and works in Copenhagen, Denmark. She graduated from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 2021. Her Instagram is a popular visual gallery where she engages with her 16K+ followers with humour and endless digressions about almost everything, while keeping her face anonymous. Resurrection, the artist’s critically acclaimed MFA degree installation, presented at Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen, earlier this year, was recently acquired by Horsens Museum, Denmark. Previous exhibitions include Cosmogony, Holly Golightly, Copenhagen, Denmark (2021), Fantasy, Collaborations, Copenhagen, Denmark (2020), Philosopher’s Mountain, V1 Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark (2019), Dryade, Politikens Forhal, Copenhagen, Denmark (2018), and the site-related installation Phlox, commissioned by Creator Projects, Kalvebod Brygge, Copenhagen, Denmark (2018). In the Spring of 2022, Klara Lilja will mount a dialogue exhibition with Paul René Gauguin (1916 - 1976) and J.F. Willumsen (1863 - 1958) at the museum of the last mentioned in Frederikssund, Denmark.