“Lush mussels, shining starfish, and lively sea creatures from the depths of the ocean meet in a ceramic universe where the whimsical properties of clay and glaze are given free play. The exhibition Underfundige Underverdener – Gauguin and Lilja (Enigmatic Underworld – Gauguin og Lilja) presents two very different artists across time and space, namely Jean René Gauguin (1881-1961) and the contemporary Klara Lilja (1989-) who are both considered innovators of ceramic art and share an experimental approach to clay and the intricate work with surfaces, glazes and temperature as well as a fascination for the mysterious gorges of the ocean.
However Lilja’s frame of reference goes beyond the mythological narratives which have been dominant in the European self-understanding and art tradition, and which Gauguin, despite all his ceramic achievements, operated within. Lilja is inspired by video games, manga and the dark fantasy genre, thus reflecting a more global and contemporary viewpoint.
With the increasing warming of the globe, the idea of a world under water is no longer unthinkable. In this dystopian light, Gauguin’s frivolous utopia bears witness to a carefree world of yesterday, like a relic of the past frozen in stone. It is precisely the eternal perspective of clay that appeals to Klara Lilja. As she herself writes, with her ceramics she leaves a kind of imprint, “that in principle may exist in 100,000 years”. In this extended perspective of time, both her own and Gauguin’s works transform marvelous underworlds into snapshots that reflect the eras in which they were created”
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