In collaboration with art critic Rob Perrée, Readytex Art Gallery has developed an informative initiative: An Eye for Art. Once every two weeks Rob Perrée discusses a work of art from the collection of Readytex Art Gallery. This week he talks about ‘Llama’, ceramics, 26 cm wide x 33 cm high x 25 cm deep, 2014, from Hanka Wolterstorff.
The European Ceramic Work Centre (also on Facebook) in ‘s Hertogenbosch exists for almost 25 years. Great artists such as Anish Kapoor, Tony Cragg, but also Dutch artists such as Karin Arink (also on Facebook) and Thom Puckey had the opportunity to make ceramic art works there. Every year there are many artists who are ‘fighting’ for a place to work at the EKWC. It is a popular institute.
When Hanka Wolterstorff (Hoorn, 1943) started her career in ceramics, so much appreciation for ceramics was yet unheard of. Ceramics have had to live with the ‘vase trauma’ for a long time. Most people associated ceramics with vases, with decorative objects or with utilitarian objects. Art it could not be, let alone good art.
With her work Wolterstorff proves the absurdity of that idea. Her sculptures are abstract. They don’t want to portray anything, they don’t want to be useful, but they want to express something. Like movement for example. In this object she manages to create the suggestion of upward motion. As though the different segments are stretching themselves up. Because she uses lively colors, that sense of mobility is enhanced.
The colors are also there to reach a layeredness. They lie on top of and against each other. They run into and over one another. They also serve to seduce the viewer. You can hardly resist touching it.
Because it is ‘just’ made up of colorful, motile shapes, it is possible to imagine just about anything. Is the work a representation of nature, of the wind, of rippling water, of plants that move in the wind or are budding? Or does it refer to cultural practices?
What is special, is that she succeeds in creating an illusion of weightlessness in her sculptures, while of course they are anything but.
Ceramics are a very old medium. It is also a medium that was used, and is used, all over the world. After all, the base material – clay – is easy to find almost everywhere. That is perhaps one of the reasons why for so long it was not considered ‘real’ art.
This work shows how striking it can be.
TEXT Rob Perrée, Paris, August 2014
TRANSLATION Cassandra Gummels-Relyveld, 2014
Want to see this and other work of Hanka Wolterstorff ‘up close and personal’? That’s possible at Readytex Art Gallery, Maagdenstraat 44-upstairs, Paramaribo. www.readytexartgallery.com. For more information about Hanka Wolterstorff please visit the website http://readytexartgallery.com/hankawolterstorff.
The 19th edition of An Eye for Art has been sent as a RAG-mailing on September10, 2014 and was published in Kunst en Cultuur in de Ware Tijd on September 10, 2014.
Because really looking at art and understanding art are not always obvious and easy to do, we hope that these regular reviews will at least offer you some insight into the process. You will get to see how a connoisseur looks at art, discusses it, and then links the work to others within the international art world.
Of course you can only truly judge a work of art when you are actually standing in front of it yourself. We therefore hope to see you soon in Readytex Art Gallery and are eager to hear what you think of this artwork, and which other works of art you find yourself drawn to. Please note that the artworks discussed are still available for purchase at the time that the review is published.
Rob Perrée is art historian and works as freelance writer, art critic and curator, specialized in contemporary (Afro-) American art, African art, Surinamese art and art using new media. His work has appeared in countless catalogues, books, magazines and newspapers. He is editor of Sranan Art Xposed, editor in chief of Africanah.org and a member of the editing team of Pf Photo Magazine. His website: http://robperree.com.