In 2012, the major retrospective that marked the end of Kristin McKirdy’s residency at Sèvres Cité de la Céramique was devoted to the work of an artist who incarnates the revival of contemporary ceramics.
Of American origin—born in 1958—but living in France for more than twenty years, the ceramist is once more in the news for new works about to be shown at the Galerie Jousse-Entreprise, as from 12 September.
Rigor and simplicity are the passwords for her new sculptures/ceramics devised as families of objects, and we once again find her generous forms going hand-in-hand with a demanding technical know-how—something which the artist has by now got us used to. Made using the wheel, coilbuilding or slabs, Kristin McKirdy shows us once again the huge pleasure she takes in modeling her expressive and unusual forms.
The series of “houses”, with broken perfect planes, assembled in groups of five, occupy space in a three-dimensional way. Like reflections of the archaeology of the modern world, they offer several possible interpretations: votive altar, shelter, simple monolith… it’s up to us to mediate thereupon.
The form is always special, clearly defined and minimal, accompanied by perfectly mastered textures and colours, visible in the large “target” bowls, containing in their hollows bright splashes of colour which lure the eye, the way a kinetic work would. Whether closed or open pieces, certain bowls with spreading shapes gather quantities of little treasures like so many gems with full and rounded curves.
Her in-depth research proceeds by way of form but also via the matter and colour which permeate the artist’s entire oeuvre. During her four-year residency in the La Manufacture studios, Kristin McKirdy managed brilliantly to espouse and transpose the Sèvres repertory, and the emblematic blue hue of La Manufacture, which she previously refused to used, regarding it as too decorative, is now part and parcel of her new vocabulary. Like an uneven matt expanse, blue now clads the forms of her sculptures like a bark, a scratched skin, contrasting with a flawless white enamel, smooth and velvety to the touch. This is a subtle, sensual matter, which we find in new forms that can be likened to delicacies, like those cakes bedecked with a sugar-coloured sap, complete with an essential pop detail: the cherry on the cake!
The powerful presence of Kristin McKirdy’s works gives them a lasting quality, and they are now associated with those leading lights of modernity, Jean Prouvé and Charlotte Perriand.