At Paris London Hong Kong, a Danish Artist’s Spare, Self-Contained Vignettes

What is it about self-contained vignettes — in which the artist creates not only the work but also the structure the work sits upon — that are so pleasing? This is the second exhibition of its kind that we’ve featured this week (the first being Emily Mullin’s show at Jack Hanley Gallery in New York) in which the plinth is part and parcel with the piece: Called “Bit by Bit Above the Edge of Things,” Danish artist Marie Herwald Hermann’s first exhibition at Paris London Hong Kong in Chicago presents six of these tableaus — primarily made from porcelain, stoneware, and silicone — framing a small room punctuated by a seventh piece in ceramic, fiber, and wood. “For almost every show in the last five years, Hermann has placed nearly as much attention on the supports — the structures the ceramics sit on — as the ceramics themselves,” reads an essay about the artist by Anthony Marcellini. “These pedestals, shelves, and risers are carefully handcrafted for each show, sometimes from the same materials as the bowls, vases, and sculptural forms.  The attention given to them unsettles the presumed dominance of the individual ceramic objects and brings the space of the room into the work, which the plinth is normally supposed to distance. It simultaneously raises that status of the plinth, while also degrading the presumed focus, the ceramic, to the level of the support.” On view until December 22.


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