EXPERIMENTS – BORN FROM FIRE
contemporary ceramic art by Sigrid Caspar in the Keramikmuseum Mettlach¹

The most recent special exhibition at Villeroy & Boch's Keramikmuseum in the Alte Abtei²  in Mettlach deals with the latest creative period of the ceramic artist Sigrid Caspar. Her works will be on display in Mettlach until December 31, 2011.

A constantly recurring point of departure for Caspar's sculptures is the human form. Her work is dominated by such motifs as transformation and development, mourning and fear and, not least, the harmony of nature. Sigrid Caspar displays her humorous side predominantly in her animal sculptures. Well-known emotions are reflected in the pose and facial expression of inquisitive penguins, mischievous cats or sceptical hares. By providing the animal world with enigmatic, "excessively human" characteristics, Sigrid Caspar reveals her talents as an excellent portraitist.

The artist's atelier is located at St. Ingbert's "Innovationspark", but an extension to it is found in Nature itself. A wildly-romantic garden of sculptures extends directly next to Sigrid Caspar's atelier. Here, in a freely-arranged presentation, abstract and figurative ceramics enter into a dialogue with each other. This setting not only inspires the artist's work, but is also the venue for a part of her seminars on ceramic design.

 

Spread your wings and fly away

Ceramic – in particular the options its surfaces offer when working with it – provides the artist with unlimited potential to realise her ideas. Her interest focuses on the earthiness and roughness of the clay, often mixed with sand and sawdust. It is from precisely this material that Caspar shapes figures which combine solidness with an enigmatic lightness.
With its metallic gleam, the "Siegfried" object seems to almost rise up before the viewer's eyes. Folds call to mind a disturbed upward movement that leads into a wing shape. This moment of movement was created by layered modelling which was produced using wooden scrapers. Caspar also incorporates the wing motif in manneristically elongated, "weightless", small-scale sculptures.
Giacometti's expressively slim figures, to which the artist makes explicit reference, also inspired her to create larger sculptures, such as "Mensch". It's evident that the tall, clearly-contoured figure is composed of individual elements. Though mostly smooth, its surface appears disturbed. This is because carbon is applied after firing, thus intensifying the crackle effect typical for the Raku technique. In contrast, the area around the head stands out due to its dark, sooty colour. Thus, the lofty, closed shape ultimately presents itself as conflicting and ambivalent.
Sculptures of this kind reveal the artist's propensity for abstraction, which is even more evident in the ceramic picture "EKG". Reminiscent of a medical chart, the thread of life here "scores" its way through a heavy, difficult terrain that follows its own set of principles.

Abstract, real, surreal

Above and beyond existential experiences it is "normal" everyday life and its discoveries that repeatedly inspire Caspar's designs, her alienation and use of shape. This can easily include an old nail or a bizarre piece of wood. A nail drilled through the head of a ceramic penguin, for example, mutates into a beak. A piece of branch expanded using ceramic modelled like clinker, is reminiscent of a bull's head. Sigrid Caspar's work presents humorous surprises and objects which prompt involvement and contemplation.

¹Museum of ceramics
²Old Abbey