Kim Simonsson: Chosen
Galerie Forsblom September 27–October 20, 2019
Opening with the artist in attendance, September 26, 2019, at 5–7PM
Kim Simonsson’s (b. 1974) ceramic sculptures have a powerful sense of narrativity. His body of work is populated by golden astronauts, gilded figures in huts, and moss-green children wearing feather headdresses – all manner of stories are conceivable in Simonsson’s uncanny, intriguing world. Although the artist may not have a ready story in mind when he begins working on a piece, each work suggests a coincidence or chance encounter that has just occurred. As he develops his ideas, the artist reflects on the strange or surprising turn of events that might have taken place – and thus, the elements of Simonsson’s uniquely strange world fall into place.
Simonsson uses glaze to evoke particular associations with the history of ceramic art. The artist has stated that when a clay sculpture is coated with glaze, it can be nothing else besides ceramic art. Clay is a living, organic material which Simonsson covers with a generous coat of glaze, allowing it to drip down the surface without being brushed smooth, giving each sculpture a unique appearance – each piece is an individual. The traditional handcrafting method used by the artist literally adds a personal touch to his sculptures. One of his other signature methods is the electrostatic transfer of nylon fiber to the surface of his sculptures, giving them the appearance of being coated in moss.
The main room of the gallery features a moss-figure installation comprising a two-meter sculpture surrounded by smaller figures holding found objects and glass prisms. The green, nylon-coated figures are accompanied by a contrasting family of ceramic sculptures that are spray-painted gold and platinum. Some of their faces are covered with hair or a beard, in which Simonsson has applied techniques he learned at the University of Arts and Design on how to model a perfect handle for a coffee cup. The glazes coating the colorful sculptures were originally developed in the laboratory of the Arabia porcelain factory.
Graduating as a ceramics major from the University of Arts and Design in 2000, Simonsson is an internationally active artist whose work is found in Finnish and foreign collections including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma and the EMMA Espoo Museum of Modern Art.