Ceramic Rings Link Nature and Community in Cecil Kemperink’s Elaborate Moveable Sculptures
Constant motion and transformation underpin ceramic artist Cecil Kemperink’s philosophy, drawing inspiration from the rhythms of nature. Since 2019, she has lived on Texel, an island north of The Netherlands in the Wadden Sea that’s recognized by UNESCO as the largest continuous, undisturbed intertidal ecosystem in the world. The infinite crashing of waves on the shore, grasses or branches waving in the wind, and the way humans interact with these phenomena inspire the artist’s linked, organic pieces that combine sculpture with performance (previously). Her work centers on a sense of connectedness, both ecological and within our communities, that manifests symbolically in the form of links that expand and contract like ceramic chainmail.
Intended to be manipulated and reshaped, each ring is looped to others to create a robust yet delicate fabric that the artist can move around on the floor, suspend from the ceiling, or wear. “Motion is a key part of the expressiveness of my sculptures,” she explains. “The movements show the importance of each circle. Every ring is essential and influences the other; they are all connected. They are all one. Every link wears the symbolism of a circle: conjunction, connection, power, endlessness, an eternally ongoing movement.” In some works, the components vary in size and can be expanded or contracted, while in others, such as “White grey tones,” they are closely connected and emphasize the circular form.
Kemperink’s sculptures bear a significant literal and metaphoric weight: when a piece is worn or carried, there is a strong awareness of its presence, responsibility for its care, and occasionally, the burden of carrying it. Characteristically, there’s also duality in the works’ being both malleable and taut. “The interaction of sculpture and woman/man opens several layers of consciousness,” she explains, as “each relation reveals new sensations, change of feelings, and a different energy. New perceptions are being shaped, multiple points of view arise, and consciousness is in full motion.”
Kemperink’s work “Wishful thinking” is included in the International Academy of Ceramics’ 70th-anniversary member’s exhibition in Geneva, Switzerland, from September 12 to 16. She has also recently started a YouTube channel, and you can find more of her work on her website and Instagram.
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Kengo Kuma Hangs Glimmering Sheets of Metallic Chain Inside Gaudí’s Casa Batlló
Renowned architect Kengo Kuma (previously) amplifies the already magical nature of Antoni Gaudí’s Casa Batlló in Barcelona with layers of shimmering curtains. Lining a staircase that stretches from the coal bunkers in the basement up eight flights, the immersive installation suspends 164,000 meters of Kriskadecor’s aluminum chain, positioning the lighter shades on the upper floors and black on the lowest level to emulate the gradient in the Casa Batlló courtyard. The billowing drapes reflect light in kaleidoscopic patterns around the museum and stand in contrast to the otherwise colorfully whimsical architecture, which Kuma describes:
We have imagined this space dressed in aluminum link curtains, which with their meticulous materiality catch the light, as if they were fishing nets, and show it to us in all its forms: brightness, silhouettes, shadows… this way, by omitting the use of any other materials, and erasing the presence of this blind box and its staircase using these chains, we are able to speak of light and light only.
Because of the material, the ceiling of Casa Batlló was outfitted with special acoustic panels to muffle any noise produced by the chains clanking together. The photos shown here were taken by Jordi Anguera, and you can find more of his shots and stay up-to-date with Kuma’s designs on Instagram.
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Industrial Materials and Rugged Topographies Converge in Jacqueline Surdell’s Knotted Tapestries
Chicago-based artist Jacqueline Surdell sutures lengths of rope, fabric, and silky ribbons into sprawling abstract tapestries that hang from walls and standalone armatures in textured, colorful masses. Swelling clusters of knots and ties, loose weaves, braided tunnels, and dangling strands compose her three-dimensional compositions that are disrupted by sporadically used items like steel chains, volleyballs, and polyester shower curtains. Because of the scale of the pieces and the hefty materials, the artist often uses her body as a shuttle to weave the brightly colored fibers together on massive hand-built looms.
Surdell embeds parts of her Chicago upbringing in her wall sculptures, especially childhood memories of her grandmother’s landscape paintings and her grandfather’s job in South Side steel mills. These two experiences converge in her textured works by evoking vast terrains and the city’s industrial history through her use of commercial materials. Each piece offers further reflections on today’s world, with energetic and chaotic pieces like “We Will Win: Our Banner in the Sky” (shown above) responding to the fraught political landscape in the U.S. and destructive events like wildfires and loss of coral reefs sparked by the climate crisis.
You can find more of Surdell’s large-scale tapestries on her site, and head to Instagram to see her latest work-in-progress.
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Countless Ceramic Loops Comprise Cecil Kemperink’s Movable Chain Sculptures
Spread flat or folded in shapeless piles, Cecil Kemperink’s bulky chain sculptures contrast the solid ceramic material with the flexibility of their shapes. The movable works are comprised of hundreds of loops that link together in sheets of earth tones and subtle gradients. Whether heaped on the floor or draped across Kemperink’s body, the hefty chain mail is at once supple and fragile.
The artist (previously), who is based on the island of Texel in the Netherlands, draws her understanding of motion from the surrounding water and environment. “I love the rhythm of nature, the tides, the (change) of the length of the days, the seasons, the changes continuous,” she shares. “I try to translate the rhythm, the time, the colors, the continuous movements in different ways into my work.”
Follow Kemperink’s latest works, which will include ten pieces for an installation, two larger works, and a wall sculpture in the coming weeks, on Instagram.
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Crouched and Posed Figures Formed From Hundreds of Welded Bike Chains
Young-Deok Seo (previously here and here) produces life-size figures welded from hundreds of folded bike chains. To create these works he first begins with a sketch, which he then digitizes to create a 3D model. Next he creates a full-scale rendition from clay, which serves as both his foundation and mold for the welded chains. Despite the many bends and curves of the chains’ hinges, the final forms perfectly outline the intricate details of human ears, torsos, and hands. The Korean artist as an upcoming solo exhibition curated by Liquid Art System at Abbazia della Misericordia in from late March to mid-April 2019. You can see more of his figurative sculptures on Instagram and Facebook.
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New Bicycle Chain Sculptures by Young-Deok Seo
Korean sculptor Young-Deok Seo has been busy since first appearing here back in 2011. The artist has continued working almost exclusively with welded chains reclaimed from bicycles and elsewhere. Seo most recently exhibited at SODA Gallery in Istanbul. A statement from that show:
Seo Young Deok’s work aims to reflect the disease-like contamination we experience caused by materials in our society, he hopes to reveal the amount of suffering it places on the modern-day human. To express this, he utilized metal chains to create the modern man. Chains were made by our civilization and created through mass production, yet it is also just one accessory, one part in a massive piece of machinery. He considered each part of the chain a human cell and used the chains to create a human figure. Thus, this being’s form has been created in contamination by materials in our current world.
You can follow more of his work over on Facebook. (via my modern met)
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