Merete Rasmussen Molds Empty Space With Her Sinuous Clay Sculptures

“I am interested in how space is defined and understood through form,” states ceramist Merete Rasmussen, whose boldly colored, abstract stoneware sculptures will be animating Galerie Agnès Monplaisir throughout the month of October, in “Merete Rasmussen — Équilibre & Couleur.” This exhibition, which the gallery is presenting in partnership with Galerie Mouvements Modernes, is the first solo showing of Rasmussen’s work in Paris, and offers viewers an opportunity to revel in a roomful of her bright, eye-catching pieces. In the artist’s words: “My shapes can represent an idea of a captured movement, as a flowing form stretching or curling around itself, or the idea can derive from repeated natural forms or complex mathematical constructions.” With these motivations in mind, viewers will also find plenty of room for interpretation in the seemingly endless curves and coils of these sinuous sculptures.

Rasmussen shapes her forms by hand, smoothing and stretching the clay into ribbon-like loops that call to mind Möbius strips, the spiraling interiors of shells, a tangle of seaweed, or computer-modeled, geometrical shapes. They appear at once solid and malleable, delicate and strong, reflecting the artist’s longstanding interest in Danish design, particularly the work of such masters as Arne Jacobsen and Verner Panton. Among the works in the exhibition is Red Loop (2014), composed of a thick, winding band painted a lush, matte red. As the band twists, undersides become upsides and the form appears to spiral inwards and outwards simultaneously. In Orange Twisted Loop (2014), the band is wrapped more loosely. One section of its exuberant form almost seems to be on the verge of flattening out entirely, before shifting course and curving up once again. 

These works are more than the sum of their material parts. The gaps in between the bands are a part of their overall visual impact. As Rasmussen once explained, when she is shaping a piece, she is interested not only in the clay itself but in “the discovery and strength of an inner or negative space,” which she manipulates deftly, as if she could hold it in her hands.

—Karen Kedmey

“Merete Rasmussen – Équilibre & Couleur” is on view at Galerie Agnès Monplaisir October 3–November 8, 2014.

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