Elsa Guillaume, Installationsansichten, Foto: Kunsthalle Mannheim © Elsa Guillaume, VG Bild-Kunst 2020
As if on a dissecting table, the sliced and disassembled parts of exotic sea creatures are laid out like nature studies. The work of French ceramics artist Elsa Guillaume (b. 1989) is characterized by her fascination for strange and unusual animals. Kunsthalle Mannheim is the first to present her work in Germany.
Guillaume uses various types of marine creatures as models for her ceramic and porcelain figures. The resulting objects, based for instance on fins and fish organs, resemble everyday objects such as flippers and diver goggles. These cool, delicately modeled objects form a fascinating contrast to the real, soft surfaces of their original organic counterparts. The artist frequently travels and she records her impressions in extensively illustrated diaries. They recollect baroque-era travel reports reporting on exotic creatures and customs around the world in accounts fusing painstaking documentation with flights of fancy.
But Guillaume does not simply record. Her works query the individual consumption of exotic wares in everyday life and the increasing demand for fish and seafood as luxury goods with a resulting serious effect on climate change. She also encourages visitors to reflect on how we approach our everyday foods.
Curator: Antonella Meloni
Term subject to change.