Sebastian Stöhrer is a German artist exhibiting for the second time solo at the Carl Freedman Gallery. An interview with the artist by Marcelle Joseph for FAD magazine reveals key elements in relation to the essence of the work. We learn that Stöhrer has developed a personal language in the fabrication of his ceramic sculptures and a technical process of glazing, inducing accidental experimentations.
In the centre of the gallery space stands a dozen sculptures on pedestals. The pieces are close to each other, leaving enough space for the viewers to come close and admire the subtle ornaments and changes of colours. Cavities and malformations inhabit odd shapes. Balls, open structures, contortion handles, wooden sticks, and electric-like waves confer to the forms ethereal and whimsical features.
The air smells of salt and the aesthetic of the pieces invites the viewers to voyage into the lower spheres of the ocean. As we progress into the layers of clay, a sense of familiarity emerges. The shapes are reminiscent of undersea plankton, hippocampus and other tentacular half animal, half plant creatures. Each of them interact with one another, making the experience immersive and pleasurable. It is an organic ballet of homogeneous forms and shades made of blues, roses, and earthy colours.
The glaze gives a spectacular glossy texture to the surfaces and the volumes, enhancing the already impressive size of each creature. One of them in particular, turquoise and tall, is elegantly armoured with a ruffled collar spinning around its entire body. It is as if the artist had captured the image of an existing species and then chosen to seize and represent one movement. There is the idea that a “pause” button has been actioned. In a matter of seconds, all these creatures could come to life and circle around us, go on with their life, and find their way back underwater where they belong.
Unapologetic, these sculptures are familiar because they represent human being’s inner primal instincts. They demonstrate the nature of physical beauty and its impact when it comes to interact with one another. At that point, other sensations and feelings enter the game of social behaviour. All of a sudden, physique becomes twisted and blends with familiar past experiences, and the craving to rekindle with those memories. he personal flavour in Stöhrer’s ceramic sculptures adds an invisible ingredient to the recipe of art, enticing our human senses, sight (details), odour (ocean), and touch (texture) to take part entirely in the experience.
Sebastian Stöhrer at Carl Freedman Gallery (2 February – 11 March 2017)