whitehot | March 2009, Klara Kristalova @ Alison Jacques Gallery
Klara Kristalova: Where Owls Spend Their Days
Alison Jacques Gallery, London
February 27 through April 11, 2009
Kristalova's new work at Alison Jacques explores notions of the uncanny engulfing the viewer in an uncertain wonderment of her mysterious figures. Kristalova explores disconnect in states of mind through echoing imagery from carnal dreams or nightmares where one can identify the creatures but not enough to verbally explain them. Kristalova's pushes our own sense of narcissism and contrasting ideas of self through her work as the objects appear familiar yet disfigured. As a result, the viewer is simultaneously curious yet repelled by Kristalova's vision. The figures are unsettling, rendered in forms that are in distress, muffled, masked or mutated. As the viewer makes sense of the work, the forms undergo a psychological metamorphosis becoming disproportionate and supernatural.
In the work, Where Owl's Spend Their Days, Kristalova presents an oversized cabinet full of surreal creatures which appear as though they could come alive or disappear in the blink of an eye. Kristalova's figures made from ceramics, plaster and wood are carefully displayed within the wooden structure creating a collection of individual ambiguous narratives. Each figure appears to have its own story, but simultaneously they tell a much different one.
Modes of display in this exhibition create a mysterious curiosity to the works. The pieces displayed in the cabinet present a much different atmosphere than the ones on individual plinths in the secondary exhibiting space. Where the Owls Spend Their Days is exhibited in a dim room with the figures and shelves lit from within the cabinet. This creates a dynamic juxtaposition with the four works in the second room which are all displayed on plinth under an even, bright light. The cabinet acts as a larger than life piece of furniture for display where plinth meets diorama in an intimate presentation of the ceramic works. Meanwhile, the plinths elevate the work, presenting them in a raw and stark state.
Provocative and refreshing Kristalova's child like imagery is intriguing although the twisted figures are committed to their fate as frozen forms warped through our own psychosis.
Kristalova is a Czech born artist currently living and working in Norrtälje, Sweden. This is Kristalova's first solo exhibition in London. She has recently shown at Galerie Perrotin, Paris and Galleri Magnus Karlsson, Stockholm and been featured in group exhibitions at Stuart Shave/Modern Art and Gladstone gallery, NY.
Kristalova's Where Owls Spend Their Days will be on view at Alison Jacques gallery until April 11th and will be followed by Mathew Weir's latest solo exhibition.
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