Two hundred and sixty three

Coup de Trois

2009 by Chris Antemann
Cynthia Corbett Gallery

American born Antemann makes debaucherous porcelain sculptures – deceptively ornate and old fashioned from afar, these are provocative scenes clothed in a disguise of flowers and bone china. Of course her medium is deliberate; Antemann seeks to challenge and parody female roles through a stereotypically gentile collectable form of art. Porcelain figurines, coloured in pale pinks and blues, conjure the grotesquely elaborate decorative habits of the Victorians, where anything unsightly or unsavoury was hidden in a montage of sweet and simpering decoration. Using such a tradition Antemann’s provocative work is immediately injected with irony, much in the same way as Elaine Wilson’s shooting figures (see postcard 227). The white of Antemann’s porcelain seems to gloat in this irony, it is so pearly and smooth, delighting in the firm and curved limbs of the coup de trios. Tinted with gold the elaborate setting of the figures is only encouraged, the three little birds completing the overtly trite atmosphere. The figures themselves appear as a delicious mergence between Renaissance – hair piled on top of the head, curly tendrils down the back – and modern with little dresses and jumpsuits. Their faces are curiously attractive; the overly made-up the girls have a tartness and overly pointed ‘highbrow’ noses, whereas the ‘Renaissance’ man sits almost pathetically gentile, his curls wavering at his cheek and his eyes cast to the side worriedly.  The hand painting on these sculptures is exquisite, delicate flowers on white while the cushion they perch on is clouded in a dreamy blue that appears to seep from the very flower petals themselves. Seen collectively these sculptures provide witty and poignant scenes telling tales of stereotype. Individually the message remains but is carried through the skilled and delicate execution of the figurines; despite their parody, they are curiously beautiful.

 

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