Erna Aaltonen

Beyond Spheres

8 September – 8 November 2018

Opening Saturday 8 September 2018 from 6pm, in presence of the artist

Erna Aaltonen - Erna Aaltonen exhibition - Erna Aaltonen gallery - Erna Aaltonen avalaible at the gallery - contemporary ceramic Erna Aaltonen

Erna Aaltonen, black & white monoliths, blue sphere

Finnish ceramist Erna Aaltonen is coming back to the Galerie de l’Ancienne Poste with a new set of works combining her famous Spheres with Monoliths, sculptural forms where textural effects enhance a palette of subtile nuances typical of the artist’s work.

Erna Aaltonen, born in 1951 in Finland, acquired international recognition for her ceramic works in the course of the 2000s. The artist received the Grand Prize of Design from the Finnish State in 2014 and the International Museum of Ceramics in Faenza, Italy, awarded her a gold medal for her complete works in 2015Erna Aaltonen’s works are featured in numerous public and private collections in Europe, the United States, China, Japan and Korea.

“Spheres have always been central to my work, but for this second exhibition at the Galerie de l’Ancienne Poste, I wished to show other quality of my work as well”, Erna Aaltonen explains. The harmonious roundness of the coloured globes for which she is renowned is matched here by the rigour, though subdued, of her Monoliths. Nothing cold or austere, however, in the Finnish artist’s vertical creations; no harsh angle, no sharp edge, but rather a serene elegance. The proportions are perfectly balanced, the forms rise and discretely impose their bodies within the space. Erna Aaltonen likes pure lines and her influences can be found among the fields of modern architecture and minimalist sculpture rather than ancient or contemporary ceramics. “When I was a teenager, I remember leafing through a magazine and coming across photographs of Notre Dame du Haut Chapel built in Ronchamp by Le Corbusier. I think no other monument has ever made such an impression on me, the artist confides. I was also marked by the Egyptian prehistoric pots I saw at the Museum of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities in Stockholm, as well as by Finnish artist Harry Kivijärvi’s smooth, abstract stone sculptures, which were a true revelation to me. All of it somehow pervades and feeds my own research”. […]

Those who know her work will rediscover it here from a fresh angle. About fifteen Spheres interact with a set of Monoliths, some of which were created in the early 2010s but seldom seen before, and other smaller-scale ones made especially for the occasion. Confronting these two main “families” allows us to consider Erna Aaltonen’s coherent artistic universe of abstract sculptures with very simple volumes and lines, as well as measure the subtlety of her countless variations of form and colour.

Guillaume Morel,
Journalist and Art Critic, excerpts from the seminal text, 2018 and from the 2014 catalogue “Erna Aaltonen, the Symphony of Spheres”, accompanying the exhibition