Between my new enthusiasm for Robert Gober and recent introduction to Gregor Schnieder’s Dead House u r, I am full up on the uncanny, whether you consider it “the name for everything that ought to have remained hidden and secret and has become visible” or the familiar made strange through repression (for both ideas, see Freud’s The Uncanny). Sweden-based artist Klara Kristalova creates ceramic figurines of people, animals, and the hybrids in-between that call on the lighter, quirkier side of the uncanny, where the strange and secret might yet be a friendly force.
Kristalova’s playful work suggests childhood fairytales and fantasies come true, but with a disturbing erosion of natural boundaries and identities. I saw work by the artist recently at the Norton Museum, where the images below were taken, but the artist is represented stateside by Lehmann Maupin gallery. These works recall, in form but also in whimsy, Meissen porcelain figures writ large. I really enjoy the tactile quality of the material itself, and how the handmade aesthetic suggests these subjects are somehow personal to the artist. At the same time, each figure seems to contain its own animus, so that I empathize all the more with its uneasy relationship to this world.