Fire and Ice is a unique pair of handmade porcelain mirrors that offer contemporary reinterpretations of Chinese Chippendale girandoles. Inspired by the Robert Frost poem of the same title, Katleman combines rococo opulence with a dose of pop culture and the tradition of luxury porcelain with elements that are decidedly low-brow: each porcelain figure is hand-cast from the artist’s collection of flea-market trinkets, kitsch souvenirs, and toys. While these found objects bring their own histories, their juxtaposition and shifts in scale add a surreal, otherworldly quality. In Fire and Ice, pastoral scenes dissolve into a dark fairy tale: a parade of flower girls ends in a swan boat to oblivion, a girl’s head erupts into a mushroom cloud, and a tiny woman in an evening dress observes the mayhem from a balcony above. In a displacement of time and history, Katleman’s signature dark humor emerges, creating tableaux that are seductive, playful, and unsettling.
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
Katleman’s sculptures and installations have been described by Ken Johnson in the New York Times as “doll-sized rococo theaters of murder and domestic mayhem.” Fire and Ice adds to Katleman’s unique repertoire of handmade, historically inspired porcelain creations that began with her debut work, Folly, in 2010.
Dimensions: 60″ H x 23″ W x 5″ D Each, 67″ H x 52″ W x 5″ D Hung Together
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