The Crocker Art Museum will present the March 2017 opening of Forbidden Fruit: Chris Antemann at MEISSEN®, an exhibition of contemporary porcelain sculpture centered around a lavish banquet scene inspired by 18th century grandeur.
In 2012, Oregon sculptor Chris Antemann received an invitation to collaborate with master artisans at the MEISSEN® Porcelain Manufactory in Germany. There, Antemann took inspiration from the MEISSEN® great historical model of Johann Joachim Kändler’s monumental Love Temple (1750) and sculpted a contemporary celebration of a banquet with her own witty version of the Love Temple at its center. Using the Garden of Eden as her metaphor, Antemann designed the five-foot temple to house a host of semi-clothed revelers gathered around a sumptuous feast of “forbidden fruit.”
Antemann then expanded the installation to include a pleasure garden made up of eight pieces that surround the temple, creating an elaborate tableau in the great tradition of royal 18th century surtouts-de-table. The banquet scene is accompanied by a collection of smaller sculptures that entertain with dalliance and seduction. A massive porcelain chandelier completes the lush atmosphere, evoking the tradition of palatial porcelain rooms. The intricate — yet extravagant —surface ornamentation is hand-painted or applied to the sculptures using specially designed transfer decals, mixing 18th century designs with modern technology.
“Antemann’s work ingeniously blends traditional and modern elements,” says Crocker Assistant Curator Christie Hajela. “The latter is especially evident in Antemann’s tongue-in-cheek humor, the expressive nature of her figures, and in the complexity of interactions between the sexes, which often subverts traditional gender roles.”
Much of Antemann’s inspiration comes from painted patterns gracing 18th century MEISSEN® tableware – a rich sampling of which can be found in the Crocker Art Museum’s permanent collections.
Says Hajela, “Antemann searched through the Meissen archives and looked at tableware with designs akin to those on display in the Crocker’s Gillmeister Collection of early MEISSEN® Porcelain. In this collection, the Museum is fortunate to have examples of almost every pattern produced by MEISSEN® Royal Manufactory in the 18th century.”
Forbidden Fruit: Chris Antemann at MEISSEN® will be on view at the Crocker Art Museum from March 19 through June 25, 2017. Chris Antemann will host a discussion about this exhibition and her artwork on the afternoon of March 19, the exhibition’s opening day. Details and registration information for this event, which is open to the public, are provided below.
Forbidden Fruit: Chris Antemann at MEISSEN® is a traveling exhibition organized by Chris Antemann with support from MEISSEN®. The artworks were produced in collaboration with the MEISSEN® Porcelain Manufactory in their studio arts program located in Meissen, Germany.