3rd - 8th June 2014


Jessica Carlisle is delighted to announce Malene Hartmann Rasmussen's first exhibition at the gallery, an installation of ceramic sculptures exploring the theme of the enchanted forest. 

The wild land beyond the cultivated fields has captured our imagination for centuries. The forest as a place of enchantment is a recurring theme in European literature and myth, and can be traced back to primitive man’s awe and fear of nature which gave rise to ancient cults and pagan rituals. In classical mythology, the satyrs and fauns that dwell in the woods act as symbols of bestiality and abandon, whilst in Norse myth the dark Scandinavian forests of Mirk-wood and Iron-Wood are inhabited by elves, trolls, witches and giants, the same creatures that are to be found in 17th & 18th century fairy tales as lore and legend morph into fantasy and fiction. The forest continues to act as an important construct in contemporary culture; a sinister backdrop for countless horror movies and novels, it stands as a metaphor for the hidden realms of the unconscious mind.

Hartmann Rasmussen enters the woods at that most magical time of the day; twilight. It is at this bewitching hour, as daylight fades, that crepuscular creatures emerge from their dens and trees start to talk. This moment of transformation is embedded in Hartmann Rasmussen’s sculptures themselves, the once soft clay now hardened into fragile ceramic. Yet these strange creations feel like they might yet become animate. The owl perched on his shelf might at any moment fly away, the stocky rabbit might bound off, and the fronds of wooden hearts be seen to curl and grow. It is these boundaries between living and non-living, animal and human, plant and creature, fact and fiction, and how they have been interpreted and understood over time, that hold such a particular fascination for the artist, and her unique way of exploring and depicting them gives these surreal installations their distinctive uncanny air. 

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