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Penetrable pearls (2017), Markus Karstieß


The oyster’s outside resembles a rugged landscape; it is able to evoke within us a certain kind of unattainability and longing, just like the oyster’s yearning for the rocky shore.

When opening the oyster, we are looking at its inner exterior, and - if we are lucky - also behold a pearl. The fleshy exhibits its abject as well as its delicate features. The pearl, on the other hand, is like Hephaistos’ foot, like a flaw, a deficiency, and seems to be completely out of place. But it also represents an exotic, almost out of this world kind of beauty. As a natural artefact it incorporates everything that has been said above about the oyster; like a paradox.


In its uneven and most common form of appearance the pearl - called “barroco”, the Portuguese word for “crooked”, “irregular” - thus became a symbol for an era in European art history that lasted for 200 years - the Baroque age. Through its calmness and clarity it contrasted Renaissance by adding a distortive, distending momentum to space.

By molding the interior man seeks the interconnection with the Divine. Churches become penetrable pearls in order to access the world’s innermost part.

The pearl’s iridescent luster is caused by the refraction of light on the surface of this rare and precious item that was formed layer by layer. Thus, the luster creates an insinuating depth on the surface. The famous large pearls in the pieces of jewelry of kings and princes therefore might be interpreted as an early, wearable longing for lust and transcendence.


To me, Keiyona C. Stumpf’s ceramic works best represent the liaison between the culinary, between space and transcendence. The hands caress the amorphous, earthly entity that is, in its haptic property, more related to the hands by which it is being put into motion and to our skin than any other material in cultural history.

Just as the line seems to flow out of the drawing artist’s hand, the sculptor molds her innermost part with the material of her choice to seek the interconnection between man and his origin, the interconnection that is ever to be reestablished.

Thus, spaces - as penetrable pearls - are evolving, and ornaments that are mirrors of the unconscious.

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