If the idea of bearing witness to dozens of tiny, semi-clad porcelain figurines that appear to be on the cusp of indulging in a bacchanalian orgy floats your boat, have I a got an art exhibit for you. Chris Antemann’s Forbidden Fruit — up now at the Museum of Arts and Design — celebrates the collaboration between the Oregon-based artist and Meissen, the renowned manufacturer of fine Porcelain.
In 2011, Antemann was invited to participate in Meissen’s Art Studio Program, where she worked closely with Meissen’s master artisans to create unique pieces and a series of limited editions that strike a perfect balance between her distinctive style and Meissen’s identity. These pieces are arranged in Forbidden Fruit as a grand installation that reinvents and invigorates the great figurative tradition.
Inspired by eighteenth-century porcelain figurines and decorative art, Antemann’s delicate and intricately detailed sculptures are lavishly presented on a central banquet table alongside a selection of stand alone sculptures and a nine-light porcelain chandelier. Her centerpiece, Love Temple (2013), is inspired by Meissen’s great historical model of Johann Joachim Kändler’s monumental Love Temple (1750). Stripping the original design back to its basic forms, added her own figures, ornamentation, and flowers to her five-foot work, as well as a special finial with three musicians to herald the arrival of guests to the banquet of “forbidden fruit” below.
Using the Garden of Eden as her metaphor, Antemann has created a contemporary interpretation of the eighteenth-century banqueting craze by inserting her scantily clad male and female figures.
Posed in intimate and playful vignettes of seduction, Antemann’s figures convey narratives of domesticity, social etiquette, and taboos while making formal references to classic Baroque Meissen figurines. The ceramist invents a new narrative on contemporary morality in a setting that evokes the decadence of François Boucher and Jean-Antoine Watteau.
Chris Antemann’s Forbidden Fruit will be on Exhibit Through February 5, 2017 at the Museum of Arts and Design, Located at 2 Columbus circle (58th Street) in NYC.