VIVIAN VAN BLERK

There is no there there.

Gertrude Stein

Photographs are of models built, decors arranged, collages composed or of just a fleeting moment. After the photograph is taken, its temporary model is dismantled, destroyed or recycled. The moment has passed.

 

The original gone, our only access to that vanished place is through the photograph.

 

The  photograph  tantalizes. It is a door to a world where the viewer's imagination is engaged. One might wonder what happened before and what will happen next. That which  hides in the shadows or  lies just outside the frame is the artist's gift to the viewer's fancy.

 

Vivian van Blerk, Paris 2016

 

I began making ceramics in Lebanon in 2017. Temporary constructions  for photographs  become finished pieces. Even as durable sculptures , the fictions created remain sealed beneath the brilliant screen of ceramic glaze and remain   mysterious, silent and removed from us in time and in space and scale, unattainable  like worlds seen through  photographs.

Paris 2019

On the Beach

2019

A fleet of turtle arks carry life and memory across oceans to populate a long-abandoned city

 

Stoneware, porcelain, photography. 

Curated by Catherine Milner of Messums Wiltshire with Károly Aliotti of Meşher, Istanbul.

 

ON THE BEACH participates in  BEYOND THE VESSEL, an exhibition of ceramics by thirteen contemporary artists at the Meşher Gallery, 211 Istiklal Caddesi, Istanbul, until 22 December 2019. The show then travels to the United Kingdom.

Vanities II and III

2018

 

After the series of Vanities shown at the Wunderkammer, I set out to create a second body of  adventurous yet disciplined  skullworlds with a view to a purely ceramic exhibition. These 17 pieces are Vanities II.

In August and September, in residency at a pottery center in Lebanon, I made ten new pieces for a solo exhibition at the Beirut Design Fair, Vanities III.

Vanities II contributed three pieces to this same show and further works to two other art fairs and to two group exhibitions, and so has become too dispersed to ever  fulfil its initial ambition of being a solo show...

Vanities I

2017

 

I caught the ceramics bug in Beirut. Returning to Paris I wanted to continue transforming simple vessels into narrative worlds. But now working alone, I no longer had raw bowls, bottles, cups or vases as bases to work on. impatient to get on and make works, I was not yet ready to learn the patient, precise craft of pottery first.

The solution was in the studio space I share with archaeologists who store all the skeletons excavated from the ancient burial grounds beneath the local church, Saint Lucien in La Courneuve. Having already photographed and drawn some of the more intact skulls, I found them not difficult to model acceptably in clay.

So my basic vessel  was the skull. It brings with it a reminder of mortality and of the memories and  feelings of life that cling to our remains. It has an outside and an inside on which stories can be told.

 

Vanities I culminated in an exhibition at the Wunderkammer in Brussels in December 2017.

 

Beasts of Beirut

2017

My introduction to ceramics came  in April 2017 when invited to collaborate with Katya Traboulsi, multimedia artist, and Hala Matta, ceramicist, at Namika Atelier in Beirut, Lebanon. I modeled relief sculpture on  forms built by Hala which were then glazed by Katya.

We worked in various stoneware clays and once in  Raku clay.