On Thursday, I attended the opening of Klara Kristalova’s Underworld at Galerie Perrotin with the artist in attendance. It is her first solo exhibition in New York. Her work is part of numerous collections including the Moderna Museet in Stockholm.
The show consists of a room full of Kristalova’s glazed stoneware figurines. She has created a cast of traveling circus characters; a group of acrobats, a unicorn bust, a body of a bird with the head of a woman. Her figurines seem as if they have leapt out of the pages of old folklore stories, at times a tad morose but yet weirdly familiar and childlike.
Kristalova leaves behind bread crumbs for us to create our own story around her characters which is what makes this show particularly fun. You are not entirely sure how to feel about each figurine. Do you feel sad for the seemingly lonely creatures or have they simply met the twisted fate they deserve? She blends innocence and vulnerability with the seemingly sick and evil in an intriguing arrangement of characters.
There is something fascinating about circuses, not the big productions kind, but the small family type that travel around the countryside. They aren’t perfect but you get a sense that they really try; the kind of atmosphere were strange things can happen but we are still close to ordinary life. – Klara Kristalova