We have the pleasure to present Klara Kristalova’s fifth solo exhibition at the gallery. Her last major presentation in Stockholm was an acclaimed exhibition at Bonniers Konsthall in 2012. During the last ten years she has established herself as one of Sweden’s most successful artists with exhibitions in galleries and museums around the world. She now returnes with a site-specific installation made for the gallery called Slottet (The Castle) – a structure that can be seen as a mixture of a tower, a mountain and a body – which collects a number of ceramic sculptures. It holds associations and reflections of both our society and the personal inner life. The installation is built in the main room of the gallery. The exhibition also present a wall with different works in various materials, such as: textiles, drawing, watercolor, relief and smaller jewelry-like objects in silver, which are all connected to Slottet (The Castle).
The artist and writer Andreas Mangione (b. 1974) has written the following text about Klara Kristalova’s work after a studio visit and conversation with the artist.
Keep on Digging for Clay in the High Hills.
Between the creation of the cave paintings and the first fledgling attempts at writing, the Earth completed approximately 30,000 orbits around the Sun. As permanent settlers, man had achieved a new order, and this order demanded an administration, which in turn needed a new tool. Of the oldest writings in existence, most have to do with lists and laws. Without law and order, no royal palace, without a registry for trade transactions and possessions, no castle. But there is also another type of writing from the early civilisations that exists in copious amounts, namely texts that deal with the practice of religion and the relationship between the sacred and the profane; on the transformations that take place and the boundary between a beginning and an end.
This is where it starts for me. In reflecting on the relationship between castle and writing.
Birth in the Greenhouse. The water creature, the greenhouse as metaphor for birth and early childhood. An exceptionally fragile phase in total dependence on others. Uncertainty and hope. The Discothèque is the school of life, the labyrinth built on precise blueprints based on the footsteps of the dance-obsessed princesses. The transformation takes place in the dancing itself, dance dance dance, everything quivers in the bath, in the forest, in the cabin. The palace of Knossos, where the entity that became stuck in mid-transformation was forever locked away. Neither man nor beast, but rather a new form, totally alone, and as such, also feared. The Mortuary is the book, the final account, the writing and narrative of life. A letter is a grave, an empty shape where the sound from larynx and lip lies dead. Death as transformation. It is here, in the mortuary, that the defining struggle over life takes place, the struggle for the stories of what life really is.
This is an open castle – anyone in the vicinity is welcome to come by for a visit.
The piece The Castle is built along a vertical axis. The wandering proceeds in circles, it is an open construction where inside and outside constantly and imperceptibly trade places with each other. These shifts, this exchange of elements from the inside to the outside take place at varying speeds. Transformations are an addiction, and whether they occur or not depends both on the amount of time the visitors are ready to invest and the extent to which they are willing to shift the focus away from the static object. The Castle is not simply a collection of individual items to look at.
Odd as it might seem, the more intently I look at Klara Kristalova’s works, the more I feel listened to, and aided in formulating my impressions, my life here and now. It’s not as though The Castle thinks for me, but in a simple and direct manner the piece offers me the means to answer, to reply to the sensitivity and rawness in the hand moulded material, and to access the story therein. I see The Castle as a collage of sorts, or perhaps even better, as a tapestry, woven out of its unusually large blueprint and the existing maps of the high surrounding hills. And then there are the details: porcelain clay becomes flower petals, animal hair and claws; becomes darkness, dry skin, and deep, deep eyes. I see fluttering tent canvas and an irrepressible backbone that listens. And I say: Remember this hut.
[1, 2, 3] While visiting Klara Kristalova’s studio, I catch sight of a piece of paper where she has written the following: The Greenhouse – The Discothèque – The Mortuary.
Klara Kristalova, b.1967 in Prague, Czech Republic. Lives and works outside of Norrtälje, Sweden. Selected Solo Exhibitions: Galerie Perrotin, Hong Kong (2016), Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, USA (2014) Lehmann Maupin, New York, USA (2014), Hunt Kastner, Prague, Czech Republic (2014), Galerie Perrotin, New York, USA (2014), Bror Hjorths Hus, Uppsala, Sweden (2014), Göteborgs Konstmuseum, Sweden (2013), Västerås Konstmuseum, Sweden (2013), Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm, Sweden (2012), Galerie Perrotin, Paris, France (2012), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, USA (2011), Galleri Magnus Karlsson, Stockholm, Sweden (2010, 2007, 2004, 2002), Galerie Perrotin, Miami, USA (2007).